Nature seemed out to doom celebrations of National Ice Cream Day. As I made my last stop on my way out of Portand, the deluge began. Most of the trip south on 95 I was battling torrential rains. I would bet most ice cream shops fare poorly once a drizzle is even forecast. By the time I made it to New Hampshire, it had cleared up and I was ready for a New Hampshire Maple Walnut cone.
Since 1982, Lewis E. Palosky has been making ice cream in Portsmouth that makes everyone happy. From the families walking along the water’s edge to the socialites poking their head into all of the downtown shops, everyone seems to enjoy Annabelle’s and Portsmouth. The town is like the gateway to Southern Maine, with the added benefit of being tax-free.
This is where the residents go for a scoop. The spot that is now Izzy’s marks the top of the street you need to walk down to find Annabelle’s. Lots of people get sidetracked by that first glimpse of ice cream and then only notice the giant ice cream cone on the wall later. With that icon and the ease of a Take Out window that opens onto the street, it’s likely that people who notice it will come back and give it a try instead next time.
After opting for something truly Maine just hours before, I wasn’t sure what option was going to stand out here and compel me to eat it. Once I read over the menu, the local option of New Hampshire maple walnut seemed glaringly obvious. Certainly most folks more associate maple with Vermont, but you can get it from the trees of both the Green and White mountains.
First things first, there were great walnuts in here, fresh pieces and you were apt to get a few in every bite, enough to forgive the fact they were from California. After relishing in the joy of great walnuts, I realized that the maple flavor was not overpowering. Instead of covering the tongue as it is prone to, the maple came in as an aftertaste with a subtle lingering punch. Tasting for the maple in the front, it was there, but it was as though maple wasn’t so much used as as flavor as it was used in lieu of granulated sugar at its base. The results were great.
You can get to Annabelle’s from an old stone staircase that leads down from Market Street. It’s the setting of this spot that is special, as it’s easy to imagine this as the saloon where the sailors who were doing the grunt work would come in at the end of a shift. The other side of the street isn’t full of shops, it’s boats moored on the docks (some permanently and now serving as restaurants).
Cone – regular $2.95 large $3.75
Sundae – regular $5.25 super $6.25
Frappe $4.95 extra thick $5.50
Open year round