Summer Guide: What makes creemees different from soft serve?

MATT BONOMA WITH a creemee at Vermont Cookie Love in Ferrisburgh last summer.

During the summer, there are hundreds of ice cream stands to visit and flavors to try throughout New England. For those of us from Vermont, the quest to find the perfect maple creemee is a lifelong mission, even an obsession. If you live in Vermont and don’t express your love of creemees, you may risk being publicly shamed. OK, maybe not, but Vermonters take creemees very seriously.

So what is the creemee craze all about? Here’s the scoop.

What is the difference between ice cream and a creemee?

Outside of Vermont, a creemee is synonymous with soft-serve ice cream. Soft-serve and the creemee, with its uniquely curious name, gets its consistency because it has more air forced into it when it’s frozen than regular ice cream does. It also has less milk-fat (3% to 6%) than ice cream (10% to 18%), and is produced and stored at a warmer temperature compared to ice cream (about 20 degrees warmer).

What’s in a creemee?

To a maple purist, the perfect creemee is made with only a few fresh local ingredients, starting with local milk. More than half of the milk made in New England comes from Vermont, so creemees are considered a local food. More reason to indulge!

One creemee recipe we knew about is super simple: liquid cream, condensed milk, pure cane sugar and a stabilizing agent, with maple syrup or other flavors added at the retail shop.

Fun Fact: At some Vermont shops, the milk used for the cream travels from local dairy farms to the top of a creemee cone in less than two days!

Where did the name creemee come from?

This seems to be an ongoing debate. Some people think that it comes from its creamy texture. Another theory is that because Vermont is so close to Quebec, Vermonters borrowed the Québécois term for ice cream — crême glacée.

What are some other names for creemees beside soft-serve?

My personal favorites are Mr. Whippy (UK), Soft Whip (Ireland), Merry Cream (Lebanon), Softie (India) and just plain Candy (Argentina).

Where is the best creemee in Vermont?

There are over 400 creemee stands in Vermont, and I’m still in the process of trying all of them to determine the best of the best — it’s a life-long call of duty. Check out the creemee stands on this page and you can sort by rating.

No matter what you call it or where you get it, don’t miss out on this delicious way to support a local dairy farmer.

Editor’s note: Sine this story was first posted, it was updated with corrections. The editor was unaware that the original story put out by New England Dairy was from 2016 and some of the information was outdated. Laura Hardie is a Waterbury-based freelance writer.


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