The Woman Who Turned Bagels & Cream Cheese Into An Ice Cream Flavor
Q&A with Jacqueline Dole
Owner/Operator of The Parlor Ice Cream Co. in Portland, Maine
What makes The Parlor Ice Cream Co. unique?
Parlor is one of the first pop-up-to-pint ice cream operations. I started the company by doing events at local breweries, bakeries, restaurants, and everything in between. Eventually, the demand for ice cream was great enough that we started to sell our pints. Now, Parlor supplies custom ice cream to restaurants and coffee shops, and our seasonally rotating pints are available in 30 locations throughout New England.
What is your earliest ice cream memory?
Fudgie the Whale is always my go-to birthday cake. After 30 years, my mom finally figured out the defrost time and my cakes don’t drift down the table anymore.
What is your most popular flavor?
Salty Honey. It’s our salted sweet cream base studded with chunks of salty honeycomb candy pieces--I always have a pint in my freezer.
What is your favorite flavor?
Salty Honey is my favorite flavor that’s always available, but my all-time favorite has to be Miso Caramel and Sweet Corn.
What is your most unique flavor?
One of the custom flavor requests was for a peach, basil, and chorizo ice cream. I think I had heartburn for a week after taste testing that one.
Is there a flavor you loved but that didn’t find an audience?
Bagels and Cream Cheese was a tough one. Rose Foods is one of my favorite spots in Portland, and it was so much fun to work their bagels into a flavor when we did our Vacationland collaboration. But it was a hard sell for a lot of people.
How did you get into the ice cream business?
I was on an indefinite sabbatical from art school, working as a manager at a destination Ben & Jerry’s in the middle of the mountains, when our cake decorator quit and I had to fill in immediately. I fell in love with sweets and being paid to be creative, and I immediately enrolled in culinary school.
How did you learn to make ice cream?
I went to The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and their pastry program sparked my interest in ice cream. My first restaurant job had an old batch freezer from Coldstone Creamery and that’s when it started getting serious—I was responsible for daily rotating ice cream and sorbets. I always tried to keep an ice cream program going wherever I was working, even if that meant running an extension cord into a freezer to spin a batch for service. When I was between pastry jobs, I worked as a production manager for an ice cream shop, and there was no going back from there.
Cup or cone?
Cake cone! I love the crunch of a wafer.
What is your topping of choice?
Crunch Coat is a national treasure!
What's a surprising thing you’ve learned about ice cream?
Ronald Reagan is responsible for National Ice Cream Day—who knew?
Best advice you can share for those who want to get into the ice cream biz?
Ice cream is one of the most magical and nostalgic mediums since so many elements can be compounded into one bite. Your grandmother’s jam recipe, the first cookie you ever really got right in a kitchen—they can all find a place in a pint.
Any industry mentor or person who inspires you?
Jeni Britton Bauer. At Cherry Bombe’s Jubilee in 2014, she said four words that I reflect on almost every day: “I just did it.” Life is too short to continuously ask permission from others—it’s up to you to learn what you need to do and how you need to make it happen. No one will do the work for you, so it’s up to you to learn how to overcome all the obstacles that a path to your passion will hold. Everything from day-to-day to damage control, Jeni handles with grace and gusto.
Any advice for making ice cream at home?
If you’re serious about ice cream, save yourself the freezer space and get yourself a machine with a built-in compressor. Back-to-back batches are a lifesaver when you’re trying to perfect a recipe in a smaller batch size.
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