In preparation for my first-ever trip to Portland, ME I asked family, friends and co-workers for their recommendations. The one place on every single person's list was Holy Donut. It even made The New York Times 36 Hours in Portland travel feature.
Holy Donut has two locations, one in the west end and one in the heart of downtown Portland. Our B&B was just a few blocks from the west end location so on our final morning in town we headed straight there for breakfast.
The decor inside the bakery is an homage to America's favorite breakfast treat - the donut.
They even sell donut-scented candles!
I must admit, the vanilla glaze donut scent was pretty intoxicating.
When we arrived the line was about 15 people deep. It was fun to watch kids approach the counter, totally wide eyed, as they attempted to narrow their big eyes down to just one choice.
Once you've selected your donut flavors, you can enjoy those treats on a comfy leather couch in the bakery. While we were waiting in line a dad was sitting on the couch reading the comics in the newspaper to his two year old son. So cute!
Knowing I might not be back to Portland for a while, I decided to order a half dozen donuts. They were packed up into this adorable box.
I went with the cannoli donut (yes, that's a thing), the triple berry, the toasted coconut, the apple cider (a seasonal special), the coffee cake crunch and the dark chocolate sea salt.
Holy Donut's secret to their incredibly popular donuts is that they are made with Maine potatoes. The potato base gives each and every donut a moistness, ensuring you never bite into a dry donut. You can read more about their initial recipe testing and the ingredients for the donuts here.
The first donut I wanted to taste was the dark chocolate sea salt. As a little girl I always loved the chocolate glazed Dunkin' Donuts munchkins, so of course I gravitated toward the chocolate first.
It tasted like everything I love about that chocolate donut holes, plus the addition of a hint of salt in the glaze. My mom took one bite and said, "Mmm. Salty!"
Next up we cut into the Holy Cannoli donut. It was so delicious and so decadent!
The ricotta filling tasted like it had a squeeze of lemon.
That morning the bakery was also offering a blueberry cannoli donut which seemed to be very popular among the locals.
After we devoured those two, we took the other four home. That night we cut into the remaining donuts for dessert.
I was most excited to try to the toasted coconut. I love coconut, especially Almond Joy candy bars. The Holy Donut version has a very thick layer of toasted coconut blanketing the top.
I didn't think anything could top the cannoli donut, but the toasted coconut was definitely my favorite. That flavor just transports you to the tropics!
We cut into the apple cider donut next. The apple flavor was very subtle. I think it would have tasted even better dunked into hot apple cider.
I was very intrigued by the coffee cake crunch donut. I love donuts and coffee cake but I would never have thought to cross-pollinate them. The result is a donut rolled in cinnamon sugar with a fantastic texture and crunch. If you are a coffee drinker, this would be the perfect compliment to your morning brew.
The last one we tried was the triple berry. Any surprise I left the fruit donut for last? I wasn't going to order this one, but I saw a ton of people in line getting it, so I thought there must be something extra tasty about it. In fact, one little girl (probably three) shouted "I want the purple one!" with such conviction that I felt I shouldn't resist it.
The triple berry was indeed yummy. There wasn't a particular berry flavor that stood out, like strawberry or blueberry, but it had a nice sweetness to the glaze.
Because the donuts are so filling, we weren't able to finish all four of the ones we brought home. I kept them overnight and cut them up for my breakfast the next morning. I'm sad to say, they didn't taste great on day two. When you visit Holy Donut, definitely make sure to eat the donuts right away to enjoy their maximum flavor.
Holy Donut is a Portland must. I highly recommend the toasted coconut and the Holy Cannoli.