The Holy Donut (Portland, ME)

Donuts are still one of the food items that’s have been on the rise. When just a few years ago the local donut shop was starting to disappear from a lot of areas, there’s been a distinct turnaround, and a lot of areas are opening local donuts stores featuring good quality donuts (you can see a list of other places I’ve reviewed here), and the gamut runs everywhere from, well, plain everyday donuts, to elaborate confections like the bacon donut from Dynamo Donuts. Indeed, on a recent trip to Portland, Maine, we discovered a Portland favorite: The Holy Donut.

With two locations in town (Park Avenue and Exchange Street, we visited the latter), the primary focus of The Holy Donut is, well, donuts. But not just any donut: the donuts here are potato donuts: either Maine Potatoes for most varieties, or Maine sweet potatoes for a few select varieties. Potato as a base for donuts isn’t new (heck, I remember going to a Spudnut donuts back in the 1980s…), but they do make for a particularly moist and fluffy donut. The rest of their donut-making is high quality as well: they use only cane sugar, unbleached King Arthur flour, local dairy products, and other natural ingredients. That includes coloring: everything at The Holy Donut is either its natural color, or has been colored with a natural food item, like beets, carrots, or fruit juice. And then everything is fried to an absolute perfect crisp in fresh oil. The result is a donut that’s so good that by the time we showed up at 2pm, the shelves were almost bare.

But there was still plenty of great stuff left. Chai, mocha, sweet potato ginger, chocolate sea salt, maple, chocolate cinnamon, and few others. Myself, I opted for the sweet potato ginger glaze donut (since my catchphrase is “There is no such thing as ‘too much ginger’!”), and I was really pleased with this donut. The donut was crisped perfectly: just a nice, light bit of crunch as you bite into it. The interior was a rich, flavorful, moist, and almost yammy dough interior of sweet potato bliss. And the glaze? A really bold ginger glaze that paired perfectly with the sweet potato. I’d call this donut perfection, except…

…Carol did equally well with her chocolate sea salt donut. The same crispiness. The same moist interior, although with deep, strong chocolate notes. A nice sweet glaze that had just enough crunchy salt crystals to give it the hint of salt without being “salty”, and this was a great donut as well.

Quite frankly, these were amongst the best donuts I’ve had since, well, Dynamo Donuts. Excellent donuts made with quality ingredients—I will definitely be back.

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