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July 5, 2018

Rococo Ice Cream launches Wells test kitchen

Courtesy / Rococo Ice Cream
Courtesy / Rococo Ice Cream
Rococo Ice Cream has opened a test kitchen at 45 Wells Plaza, where it produces ice cream for its shops in Kennebunkport, Oqunquit and Wells.

A Southern Maine ice cream maker has opened a test kitchen in Wells at the location of its production site, so the public can be part of the process.

Rococo Ice Cream, owned by Lauren Guptill, opened the test kitchen at 45 Wells Plaza on U.S. Route 1 June 28. The company repurposed the front retail space of its commercial kitchen at Wells Plaza for the test area, Guptill said Thursday.

At the test kitchen, small batches of new flavors will be shared with customers for feedback. Eventually, the most popular and successful will be produced and distributed to Rococo's shops in Kennebunkport and Ogunquit.

Rococo also sells ice cream window at Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery, and Guptill said that Rococo will sell custom milkshakes at Bob's new Portland location. Rococo Ice Cream is also sold at Gypsy Sweethearts and Bintliff's in Ogunquit.

The test kitchen is being developed by interns Samantha Savage, a student at the University of New Hampshire and Samuel Swindell, a student at Bowdoin College, as well as a Rococo apprentice Daniel Zimmerman, Guptill said.

"We're hoping to work on collaborating flavors with local Wells producers like Hidden Cove Brewery, Congdon's Donuts and R&R Chocolates," she said. Those flavors are still being developed.

A news release announcing the test kitchen said it will "share the tastes and inspirations behind each flavor with customers, and will be welcome to their feedback and new ideas." While it will still have an ice cream shop feel, it will not have classic cones and cups.

Test kitchen staff will serve up tastes of the new flavors, answer customers' questions and "take feedback on the tasting experience," the company said.

The test menu will frequently change, and in addition to test flavors, will also serve Rococo's most popular flavors, such as Maine Whoopie Pie and Spicy Rocky Road.

The ice cream incorporates flavors from around the world, including New England root vegetables, mediterranean herbs and spicy South American peppers.

Guptill opened Rococo Ice Cream in 2012, and said her decision to create unique flavors was more than just a business decision. As a traveler and food lover, she said she enjoys bringing tastes and cuisines from around the world to her home state of Maine.

Opening the test kitchen is "both a step forward and a return to [Rococo's] roots," she said.

Rococo was named sixth in the country for local ice cream by Trip Advisor in 2014.

The test kitchen will host a ribbon cutting on Sunday, July 15 — National Ice Cream Day.

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