Catbird Creamery, an ice cream store and wholesaler in Westbrook, has no trouble getting people to eat its ice cream.

It’s just that the palate in Maine can be so, well, vanilla.

“Vanilla in the summertime pretty much walks out the door,” said Corey DiGirolamo, who runs the shop with her husband, Andrew Warren.

That’s fine, DiGirolamo said, but the couple put a lot of effort into stretching the idea of ice cream flavors in a lot of different directions, like Furious George, which features caramelized bananas and dark chocolate chips. And, oh, hot pepper.

So by all means, come in for the vanilla, the couple says. But good luck resisting their entreaties to give your taste buds a workout on the way to that vanilla cone because if you order vanilla, they will insist you try other varieties first.

“People always like samples, and they can taste all of the flavors they want to,” DiGirolamo said. “They may come in thinking they want vanilla ice cream, but Andrew has them taste something out of their comfort level.”

Like Furious George, tamari caramel, strawberry balsamic or carrot cake. Or more run-of-the-mill flavors like salted chocolate, green tea ginger, brown sugar vanilla or toasted coconut.

“The tamari can kind of scare them,” DiGirolamo admits of the fermented soy sauce flavor. But that only lasts until they get a taste.

And, she added, Furious George usually comes with a warning, given that it includes hot pepper.

“When he (Andrew) was a pastry chef, he would make a lot of stuff with hot pepper,” she said. “It’s sweet and it’s cool and the spice kind of creeps up on you. That’s a hard one to get people to try and you have to warn people because it can be spicy.”

Open year-round, Catbird Creamery makes handcrafted ice cream for sale in the shop and sells it wholesale to stores and restaurants in Greater Portland.

The 2-year-old company specializes in making small batches of gourmet ice cream using local, fresh ingredients and sustainable purchasing and production methods. The cream comes from Oakhurst, berries from local farms. Toppings like hot fudge sauce, lemon blueberry sauce and butterscotch are all made in house. The shop even makes and hand-rolls the cones.

Feedback on the more exotic flavors is important as the company considers expanding its retail presence. It recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to relocate and buy new equipment to expand production.

DiGirolamo and Warren note that Americans these days are much more willing, even eager, to try something spicier than they’re used to. And ice cream has been one of the last bastions of non-spicy food to fall.

And offering a taste – who can refuse a sample of ice cream? – has made the difference, she said. The opportunity to explore flavors has been key in the word-of-mouth marketing the shop has undertaken to grow its retail presence.

“Once you offer it to them and it’s already on the tasting spoon, they have to take it,” DiGirolamo said.