How the Maine Whoopie Pie Became a Local Legend
The Maine whoopie pie.
by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Dec. 31, 2016.
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Maine is well known for wild blueberries, lobster, potatoes,
paper production and moose but, recently, there has been a rising star:
the whoopie pie.
Yes, that's right the whoopie pie -- that delicious treat that
typically features two pieces of chocolate cake with a creamy filling.
But more specifically, the Maine whoopie pie. You can find Maine
whoopie pies in bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, country and
general stores, gift shops, convenience stores and even gas stations
across the state. There's even a Whoopie
Pie Cafe in Bangor. This writer recently purchased a delicious
Maine whoopie pie at Warren's Lobster House restaurant in Kittery --
what a nice complement to a lobster dinner and its 60-plus item salad
The internationally known Stonewall Kitchen, based out of York, sells a
Chocolate Whoopie Pie Mix, as well as other
flavors. Additionally, Maine lobster companies are getting into the
Maine whoopie pie craze as the Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company in
Topsham offers a unique Lobster Rolls and Whoopie Pies package.
Businesses like Wicked Whoopies in Gardiner and Cape Whoopies
in.... you guessed it... Cape Elizabeth, have sole business missions of
creating and producing whoopie pies with a creative twist.
Marcia Wiggins, owner of Cape Whoopies, says that Maine's love for
whoopie pies isn't just a recent sensation -- that it has always been
I think it was always that way here, it all started here,"
Marcia Wiggins, owner of Cape Whoopies. "The Shakers had colonies
here and made whoopie pies for the husbands and kids. They would open
their lunch boxes and say 'whoopie!'
Wiggins is the latest generation of Maine whoopie pie makers that takes
the profession to the next level.
"Some make the filling with a Crisco base, but I make a gourmet
version, based in butter," said Wiggins, whose company offers 50
whoopie pie flavors. "For me, I want something that is really good. I
don't want the whoopie pies to be overly sweet, too much sugar can
block the flavor. It's way tastier with less sugar."
Depending on where you buy your Maine whoopie pie -- online or brick
and mortars businesses -- flavors can go beyond the typical black and
white with creative offerings like vanilla latte, strawberry,
coconut, peanut butter, maple, gingerbread, pina colada and
The Maine whoopie pie has also garnered national attention. In 2011, a
Maine radio station worked with Wicked Whoopies at the Maine Mall in
South Portland to create a world's record for the largest whoopie pie,
coming in at 1,062 lbs. With innate Maine generosity, money raised was
used to send whoopie pies to US troops serving overseas.
If that's not enough, the annual Maine
Whoopie Pie Festival takes place every summer in downtown
Dover-Foxcroft with food, music, merchandise and, yes, Maine Whoopie
Pies. Once we find out dates for the 2017 Festival, we'll post right
Patrick Myers, founder and organizer of the
Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, came up with the idea with a friend several
years ago on a cold winter night.
"It was one of those wonderful ideas that came from the kitchen table,"
said Myers. "We were thinking of summer and all the great festivals and
wondering why there was no whoopie pie festival.... None of us were
sure where this would be going, but it really took off and it seems
like we've been taking over more of the downtown with each year."
The Maine Whoopie Pie Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2014
with more than 7,000 people coming to the event.
Myers said that visitors from counties like Germany and England have
attended, as well as from every state in the United States. He added
that someone from Japan had written about the Festival. The whoopie pie
culture has also spread to unlikely places and scenarios in the
Dover-Foxcroft area with a hardware store selling the pies that "ring
up as "miscellaneous hardware," according to an amused Myers. A local
coffee shop humorously sells whoopie pies as "breakfast sandwiches."
Maine whoopie pies go through an awards ceremony at the Maine Whoopie
Pie Festival with The People's Choice Award, Best Traditional, Best
Flavored, Healthy Maine Streets, Best New Baker, and Most Creative
Whoopie Pie name.
The Maine Whoopie Pie Festival even has a mascot, "Sweetie Pie," thus
confirming that the whoopie pie industry is serious business in Maine.
Well, almost serious, given the mascot looks rather happy -- coming
across sort of like the goody two shoes sister of the McDonald's
Sweetie Pie Mascot Maine Whoopie Pie Festival. Photo credit: Maine
Whoopie Pie Festival
Avery Sawyer, food director and baker for the Governor's
Restaurant and Bakery in Old Town, Maine, has earned a few awards
at the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival including traditional, lemon
blueberry, mocha and peanut butter.
"We have been in business for more than 50 years, so our whoopie pies
have been around a long time," said Sawyer. "We ship them all over the
country, even to Alaska. We always have the traditional and peanut
butter, but have upwards of 15 flavors. Many University of Maine
students move on with their lives and want the whoopie pies for their
weddings. The last one we shipped to was in Arizona."
Many fads and trends come and go, but it looks like the Maine whoopie
pie is here for the long run. Case in point: in 2011, the Maine State
Legislature voted to make the whoopie pie the official state treat,
thus ensuring and validating that the Maine Whoopie Pie craze is a
tasty reality. For the record, the Maine blueberry pie (with wild
blueberries) is the official state dessert, thus showing that Maine's
growing commitment to diversity and equal opportunity is clearly
So, is the Maine Whoopie Pie becoming oversaturated, or is it
matter of it just being oversaturated fat? Well, we already know the
latter -- there's no real health benefit to two big pieces of chocolate
cake with a creamy filling, or any variables. But as far as Maine
businesses and government overdoing it, all we have to do is look at
the hundreds of thousands of whoopie pies sold every year in Maine to
see there is a true supply and demand. Maine can also claim a
time-tested element to the whoopie pie, as many believe that the
still-thriving Labadie's Bakery in Lewiston created Maine's first
whoopie pie in 1925 for commercial sale.
Areas of New England outside and Pennsylvania claim first rights to the
birth of the whoopie pie -- there is strong evidence that the recipe
has its roots with the Amish. No one knows for sure, but the Maine
whoopie pie industry arguably reigns as the most prominent in the
United States. A sweet state has become even sweeter!
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