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The scoop on housemade ice creams in New England

Ellie’s French Macaron ice cream sandwiches are sold on Millie carts in Providence.

Jason Wessel

Ellie’s French Macaron ice cream sandwiches are sold on Millie carts in Providence.

First beer, now ice cream. Craft brews have been all the rage and now the artisanal, housemade ice cream craze is the big scoop in New England. Here are 15 spots to get your licks in before summer melts into winter.

Union Restaurant

The housemade ice cream, sorbet, and gelato served here in The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine, is headline worthy. The flavors change weekly, based on what’s available at the Farmer’s Market in Portland; popular flavors include golden beet, cantaloupe, and strawberries and cream. www.unionportland.com

Sweet Berry Farm

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Award-winning Susanna’s Ice Cream is made and served at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, R.I. Order the Honey Vanilla ice cream — made with honey from Sweet Berry Farm’s buzzing bees. All of Susanna’s ice creams are natural and made with pure cane sugar and cream from Tiverton’s Arruda’s Dairy (BGH-free and non-ultra-pasteurized). Fruit from the farm is also used, as are exotic ingredients including premium Belgian chocolate, Australian ginger, and vanilla beans from Tahiti and Madagascar. www.sweetberryfarmri.com

Cinquecento

This South End Italian-inspired trattoria restaurant and bar makes its own gelato on a Carpigiani ice cream machine. Flavors include salted caramel (a fave of Chef de Cuisine Justin Winters), vanilla, pistachio, and chocolate. Sorbets are also housemade. www.cinquecentoboston.com

Millie

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Millie is a roving, three-speed custom-built Worksman tricycle cart from Ellie’s Bakery in Providence that brings Ellie’s French Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches (housemade ice cream that use seasonal fruits from local farms) to the city’s streets. Flavors rotate, but popular flavors have included lemon lavender, coconut passionfruit, chocolate peanut butter, and tangerine lime. You can track Millie on Twitter, @MacaronMillie. www.elliesbakery.com

Blair Hill Inn

This Greenville, Maine, inn, known for its views of Moosehead Lake and farm-to-table cuisine, sources ingredients from its on-site gardens and greenhouse for housemade ice creams and sorbets. Standouts include tomato sorbet, beet sorbet, lavender and mint ice cream, and rhubarb ice cream. www.blairhill.com

Granite State Candy Shoppe

A Concord, N.H., landmark, this ice cream shop dates to 1927 and uses only fresh, organic milk from local Bohanan Farm. Top flavors include salted caramel, mint chocolate chip, and black raspberry. Bonus: Make your own sundae with homemade hot fudge. www.granitestatecandyshoppe.com

Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks

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Executive pastry chef Lauren Kroesser churns out house-spun ice cream on a rotating basis at this neighborhood brasserie near Boston’s Fenway Park. Favorite flavors include Lemon Buttermilk and Praline and, in a shout-out to baseball fans, the restaurant recently added housemade “Hoodsie”-inspired ice cream cups to go, available during home Red Sox games; popular flavors include chocolate cherry and peaches ’n cream. www.easternstandardboston.com

Branch Line

This rotisserie in the Watertown Arsenal is all about simple, locally-sourced food. The neighborhood hot spot reimagines the ice cream parlor with the housemade Sweet Cream ice cream that’s topped with salted caramel sauce (made by Coop’s MicroCreamery in South Boston) and hazelnuts. Be nice and share: The sundae is often served with two spoons. www.branchlinearsenal.com

Rococo Artisan Ice Cream

Rococo has been making an Argentine-style ice cream here in Kennebunkport’s Dock Square since opening in 2012 (owner Lauren Guptill, born and raised in Maine, spent four years in Argentina where she ran a study-abroad program). Celebrated for the ice cream’s unique flavors, favorites include chai cardamom, sweet and salty olive, and Moxie soda. A new retail shop opens this summer in downtown Ogunquit, and the ice cream is also sold at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery (www.bobsclamhut.com), which serves flavors like Maine whoopie pie, goat cheese blackberry Chambord, and chocolate coconut cream. www.rococoicecream.com

Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium

In a word: Lobster. This Bar Harbor, Maine, ice cream shop serves lobster ice cream — a butter-flavored ice cream with cooked, chopped, and buttered Maine lobster folded in. During peak season, the store stocks 64 hard-serve flavors and 12 gelato flavors — and all of the ice cream is made at the store. www.benandbills.com

Udder Heaven

Another Bar Harbor shop, with a twist — you can make your own ice cream at this “ice cream retreat.” Udder Heaven supplies the ice cream mix, ice, rock salt, and machine. As a nod to Acadia National Park’s 100th anniversary and Cadillac Mountain, the first place in the country to see the sunrise each day, Udder Heaven is featuring the Acadia Sunrise ice cream sundae this summer — a Cadillac-sized scoop of orange sherbet topped with hot fudge, whipped cream, and mandarin oranges. www.udderheaven.com

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

The ice cream at this shop in Bar Harbor is made from Maine milk and cream and has its own proprietary formula. The unique flavors are pure with no artificial colors or flavors, including one from local microbrewery, Atlantic Brewing. Popular flavors include Sherry Catalana and blueberry sour cream crumble. President Obama went with the Coconut. Bring your dog and order the Mount Desert Island Canine Ice Cream, a sweet cream-flavored treat. www.fearlessflavor.com

Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream

Order the Cape Cod Sand, the most popular flavor at this Hyannis ice cream parlor — but don’t ask what the ingredients are. “It really is a secret recipe,” says owner Julie Kimball. Even the employees don’t know what the ingredients are, other than there are no nuts. The ice cream flavor is golden in color with little flecks of sandy colors, hence the name. “It is a mystery flavor that has become very personal,” says Kimball. “Everyone tastes what they want to taste. It has become their flavor, whatever that might be.” Popular guesses: chocolate chip, butter, butterscotch, praline, even sand. “I know it is corny but love is our secret,” says Katie Kimball, master ice cream maker. “I love food, I love the science of ice cream, I love my job, and I’ve been told you can taste it in every scoop.” Another popular flavor is the lavender honeycomb (locally grown lavender-infused cream with crushed homemade honeycomb candy). www.katiesicecreamcapecod.com

Sundae School Ice Cream

This is your grandmother’s ice cream and hot fudge. Award-winning Sundae School has been scooping on the Cape for 40 years and now has three shops, in East Orleans, Dennisport, and Harwich Port. They make their ice cream in small batches daily — a combination of milk, cream, and sugar with a high butterfat content. The ingredients mixed into the ice cream are also the real deal — pure vanilla extract, fresh fruit (the blueberry ice cream uses fresh steamed blueberries), and real pistachios (resulting in a white, not green, hue). The sundaes are served with fresh whipped cream and, in season, a bing cherry crowns the top. www.sundaeschool.com

Four Seas Ice Cream

This adored Cape Cod ice cream shop in Centerville has been scooping since 1934; in fact, it stands in what used to be a blacksmith shop. You’ll find the classic flavors and a shout-out to the region with penuche pecan (old-fashioned brown sugar flavored ice cream that’s based on a New England recipe). www.fourseasicecream.com

Laurie Wilson can be reached at laurieheather@yahoo.com.
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