Words and Photos by Michaela Mazure
So here’s the thing. I love desserts. If it’s got chocolate and sugar, I’m all about it. I also love to explore new places, so when I travel to a new city, my favorite thing to do is to check out all the different bakeries in the area. I find it to be a great way to interact with the locals, and also a way to travel beyond the beaten path to places I otherwise never would have encountered.
My family has been vacationing in Ogunquit, Maine from the time I was little, and yet I had never made the forty minute drive north to visit Portland until this past summer. I was immediately awestruck at how beautiful the city was. You could see the water from almost anywhere, and the people were so friendly, I felt as though I had left New England all together.
My first stop was a bakery named Foley’s, which was actually the only traditional-style bakery I ventured to. It had cakes and pastries lining the glass display case, and the smell of freshly baked cookies wafted throughout the room. I was at a loss for what to order because it all looked incredible, so I opted to request their specialty pastry which happened to be a chocolate mousse bomb with a cream filling. Yes, you read that right. A chocolate mousse BOMB. I also grabbed a lemon poppy scone per request of my sister before wandering off to my next sweet spot.
Next up was a well-known Portland shop: The Holy Donut. Even at 3pm on a Friday, the line extended out the door, and I knew I was in for some good food. The Holy Donut actually makes their dough with a potato base as opposed to regular flour and only uses wholesome, high-quality ingredients. I was overwhelmed at all the options, and once again went with dealers choice; the cashier chose a maple donut and I decided to add on a dark chocolate toasted coconut to pair with my mousse tart.
The Holy Donut wasn’t the only donut shop I stumbled upon in my Portland adventure, though. As I wandered mindlessly throughout the city, I spotted a storefront known as HiFi donuts. It was getting late in the day, and many of their flavors had already flown off the shelves by the time I got there. I knew I had a lot of chocolate in my goodie bag as it was, and went with the Old Port Vanilla Donut (which actually was the fan favorite out of all the desserts I brought back).
I walked into a coffee shop to get some caffeine, and was lucky enough to find one that also served desserts. Dozens of cupcakes filled the display counter, and cookies the size of my face were stacked up on the counter just begging to be eaten. I grabbed a salted caramel cupcake and a cup of coffee, using all my willpower not to walk out with a stack of ten chocolate chip cookies in my arms.
My last stop ended up being at a gluten-free bakery called Bam Bam. The store was huge and it had the most incredible view of the ocean right outside its door. Everything they made was strictly gluten-free, and they also had a few vegan and nut-free desserts so that everyone would be able to find something they could enjoy. They, too, had plate-size cookies, and this time my will-power caved. I selected a chocolate chip and a peanut butter, and also grabbed a homemade protein bar to prevent myself from eating all the desserts on my drive home.
Portland is amazing, and definitely a place everyone should venture to at least once. The positive vibes are so contagious, and you truly won’t know how good a chocolate mousse bomb is until you go try one.