Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Creamfeatured

Happy Friday! To kick off your weekend: sweet gloriousness, a love story, and some r.e.s.p.e.c.t. to the bees please.

I recently discovered the luxurious decadence that is Haagen-Dazs’ Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream, part of their gourmet elite Reserve Series. It’s a brilliant marketing ploy. That “Reserve” stamp urged me into stockpiling multiple pints of this AH-mazing ice cream once I tasted it, full of fear that it may be my only chance of savoring this truly special flavor whenever I wanted (or at least for the next few months).

Buttery, sweet cream swirled with satiny ribbons of honey beyond your wildest imagination of what honey could taste or feel like on your tongue. The texture of the Lehua honey is unreal – more like honey cream. The flavor…makes you think bees have it made, eating this stuff all day. Delicate, sweet but not cloyingly sweet, possessing of a gentle floral aroma and warm butterscotch notes.



You can almost taste the lush tropical beauty of its birthplace, soaked into each drop. Lehua honey is harvested from the remote volcanic slopes of Muana Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. There, honeybees gather nectar from the red, fragrant Lehua blossoms of the Ohia tree and use it to create this rare honey which is only found three months out of the year. It seems only right that something so poetically beautiful cannot be taken for granted by making itself so readily available.

Ohia Lehua Tree Photo Credit: K. Lambert

Ohia Lehua Tree
Photo Credit: K. Lambert

Ancient Hawaiians considered this tree sacred because it is one of the first plants to grow in new lava flows, thus promising new life on the land.

According to Hawaiian legend, Ohia and Lehua were two lovers separated by the goddess of fire, Pele. Pele desired the warrior Ohia, and when he refused her, she turned him into an ugly, crooked tree. When the other gods weren’t able to turn him back, out of pity they turned his true love, Lehua, into a flower and placed her upon his branches so they could be reunited. It is said that when a Lehua flower is plucked from an Ohia tree, the sky fills with the lovers’ tears.

Ahh now isn’t that nice?

Ok, on to the more serious portion of our program: the Bees. Without whom we would tragically be without Lehua honey, any honey, a majority of ice creams out there, and about a third of our food supply.

Alarmingly, a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been affecting the natural order of the bee world. This little-understood disorder causes worker bees from a beehive or Western honeybee colony to abruptly disappear. If these pollinating bees continue to die off, much more than our sweet tooth is at stake.

Props to Haagen-Dazs for taking a pro-active step in stemming this crisis. They have set up a program called Help the Honey Bees, whose mission is to educate the public on Colony Collapse Disorder and support two of the world’s leading honey bee research facilities at Penn State and UC Davis.

Every time you enjoy a big bowl of Haagen-Dazs, a part of the proceeds benefit this fund. Hopefully, a solution to CCD will be found soon, we can indulge knowing our beloved honey bees are happy and safe…and Haagen-Dazs can take Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream off their Reserve list so I don’t have to buy out the freezer section.

Related Articles:
Stung, by Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker (8/6/07)
Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril, by Alexei Barrionuevo, The New York Times (2/27/07)

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