The Holy Donut, Portland, Maine

Americans have a love affair with donuts. Me, not so much. They would have to be exceptionally delicious or unique for me to eat one.  A case in point would be The Holy Donut in Portland. Numerous rave reviews and this warning on their web site  ” Each location closes upon selling out” created the needed urgency and desire to check them out.

What makes their donuts so unique that once a man offered $100 for two? It should be no surprise that they are made with riced Maine potatoes. Duh! Owner Leigh Kellis, worked out the recipe after some trial and error and says the potatoes make the donuts extra moist. Other ingredients are top notch – local dairy, unbleached flour, the highest quality dark cocoa powder and 60% dark chocolate chips. What’s not in them is just as important – No fake sweeteners, high fructose corn syrups or hydrogenated oils. No fake flavorings or color in the glazes either. Donuts are fried in  100% canola oil. In addition to the moistness, the real attraction is the unusual flavors – dark chocolate sea salt, maple, mojito and even bacon cheddar.

I stopped in at the 194 Park Avenue location as the downtown location on Exchange was still 2 weeks away from opening. I drove right past the plain white shop the first time. Surprisingly mid-morning on a Saturday, there was no long line of customers (as there often can be) snaking out the door that would have clued me in as to where it was.

There seemed to be an abundant selection and supply of donuts that morning. It being October I was hoping for pumpkin (one of my favorites) but that flavor was not baked that day. I settled for an apple cider donut. That was probably my first mistake. Thinking back, I should have gone for their top seller of chocolate sea salt since I am a sea salt fanatic and chocolate is one of my favorites things to eat.

My second mistake was eating breakfast earlier and not allowing enough time to pass to do a true tasting. My first bite impression was “Bleck!” The texture was weird and somewhat gummy. It was as if the donut was not fully cooked, but it was based on looking at the interior texture. It did not taste prominently of apple cider or cinnamon. The taste was almost indiscernible.

The Holy Donut also offers gluten free Maine potato donuts in cinnamon sugared, dark chocolate sea salt and glazed (flavor rotates daily). I would definitely try those as I am trying to cut back on gluten. Their web site says they also offer a gluten-free plain or chocolate with the option of vanilla or mocha glaze in their donut cakes (think a pyramid of donuts). Vegan donuts are also available.

While my first visit a disappointment, but I will gladly give The Holy Donut another try the next time I am in Portland. I will go on an empty stomach with an open mind and select flavors I know I will love.

Web Site:

About J. Matlock, Director of Fantasies

Jeanette's wanderlust started as an Air Force brat crisscrossing the US visiting almost every state. Writing has always been a part of her life. While earning a BA in Journalism from the University of Central Florida, Jeanette found photography was the perfect compliment to writing. She is always on the outlook for what she calls "Right Time, Right Place" photographs that capture a once-in-a- lifetime moment. Her adult travels have taken her to Scotland, England, France, Switzerland and all over the US and she continues to crave going to places to experience adventure, great food and lifestyles. She has written travel journals for the web site to share her experiences to guide and encourage other travelers. Her descriptive writing style makes one feel as if they are there sharing the experience. Her love of writing is based on this simple truth: "When I am writing, I know that I am doing the thing I was born to do." (Anne Sexton).
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