Monday, April 14, 2008

Random Frozen Plug, For Bees

My favorite ice cream of all time was a Haagen-Dazs flavor called "Honey Vanilla," which was criminally inexplicably discontinued several years ago. There have been a few other worthy contenders to the throne, notably Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Chip, Ben & Jerry's HEATH Bar Crunch, even plain old Haagen-Dazs Vanilla was serviceable enough, but nothing really came close to the subtle perfection of the Honey Vanilla I remembered from my youth.

A few months ago I became aware of a new Haagen-Dazs creation, in their "reserve" line, called Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream Ice Cream. I made a point of finding and buying a pint, only to be thoroughly disappointed by a product that was, in my opinion, far too rich, and marred by slightly sickening golden swirls of bland sweetness running through the vanilla base. I guess that was the prized "Hawaiian Lehua Honey," oh well. Manufacturer and key ingredient aside, it wasn't close to what I was looking for.

More recently, I was doing a little late-night rummage through our freezer and found a surprise Gwen had left there waiting for me, a pint of this. I got a spoon, opened it up and was immediately transported back in time, back 20 or 30 years, to that same amazing and singular experience. Perfectly integrated clean and delicately well-balanced flavors, a lingering honey finish, and without the over-the-top assault of the flawed "reserve" version. It was phenomenal. Haagen-Dazs Honey Vanilla is back. They're calling the new incarnation "Vanilla Honey Bee," but they could call it toasted asphalt and wouldn't have any problem with me, as long as it tasted like this.

I'm mentioning this now because, if the company's Web site is to be believed, Vanilla Honey Bee is a "limited edition" flavor that will only be available through December. If you are even slightly predisposed to vanilla or honey, do yourself a favor and don't miss it this time around. We're doing our part here to boost sales to the point that they'd be crazy to stop making the stuff, but we can use all the help we can get.

The return of this epic flavor also seems to be part of a broader initiative that Haagen-Dazs has undertaken to raise awareness of the increasingly dire plight of the world's honey bees, and the potentially devastating effects associated with their mysterious decline. They've put up a pretty amazing site with more information on the situation. It's no Bee Movie - which our whole family loved, by the way (good job, Jerry) - but is well worth a visit.

So go out and buy a pint of Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee, I'm willing to bet it won't be your last. You might even save a bee, and the best ice cream in the history of the planet.


Blogger Mlle Gateau said...

Thank you thank you thank you for discovering that! I had been reduced to making my own, and also experimenting with honey-lavender ice cream, but nothing beats being able to grab it out of the supermarket freezer when the urge strikes.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

I will!!! SOunds heavenly... Haagen-Dazs had a flavor last year called something like Carmelized Pear and Pecan. OMG! It was ridiculous. I LOVE ice cream but I am, very VERY snobby about it. I only eat a bit after Tai Chi class on Tuesdays - too much sugar at one time makes me not well - anyway - I have run out of my flavor - bought something else (mango I think) not loving it, so not eating it... I will seek out the Honey Bee flavor. Thanks for the tip!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Shannon said...

Yum. I think I will try it. I Love your blog, by the way. Good stuff.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Flea said...

Not a huge honey fan, but I might pick some up for my husband. Coffee Heath Bar Crunch is always a favorite.

Okay, I love honey if I can chew on the honeycomb. :)

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for opening my eyes to this flavor. I love all things honey and know that this will be a welcome summer treat!

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok so I love honey and I'm texting the hubby right now to bring me some of this on his way home from work. He LOVES it when I do that! LOL ;)

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had some last month and it *is* delicious! Plus you get to feel good about eating ice cream!

1:34 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

My husband and I will definitely try this. Anything to raise bee-plight awareness, an issue that is the dwarf-sized version of polar bear-plight awareness. Network news last week reported that scientists now believe the cause of bees disappearing is air pollution. It is causing flowers to lose their fragrances, and that in turn causes bees to lose their way to pollination sites and back to the hive.
Indeed, let's enjoy Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream but consolidate errands/shopping stops when going out to buy it. buzzzzzz

4:11 AM  
Blogger jodi said...

I will have to try it. Just put in my second bee hive yesterday. Love your blog.

6:21 AM  
Blogger pine tree said...

When I was a kid, my mother owned a natural foods restaurant, and one of the items on the menu was Haagen Dazs honey vanilla ice cream, tho' I must confess that my favorite flavor was boysenberry, which tasted like popsicles to me. This was way back in the late '70s, before the rest of the world knew what Haagen Dazs was, and before the gourmet ice cream craze, started by Steve Herrell, who I later had the pleasure of meeting in Northampton, MA.

When I was a teenager, I worked in the ice cream window of the previously-mentioned restaurant, and had to ask the tourists in our little seaside town if they wanted fresh fruit and/or granola on their ice cream sundaes. I got some very perplexed looks!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Thanks for the tip. I can't wait to try it!

12:15 PM  
Blogger Hope said...

My favorite ice cream is an obscure "Premium Select" Moose Tracks (which are HUGH chumks of chocolate) Mint Ice Cream. Our local (does 21 miles count as local?) grocery stocked it off and on until I got the UBC code and bombarded the store headquaters with request. It still disappears for weeks at a time, so I can easily understand your plight.

So, the fight for Vanilla Honey Bee begins - I will support you and BUY it (and if I don't like it, the dogs will happily eat it all up).

11:30 PM  
Blogger Jasmin said...

Sorry I can't help out - Here in Australia we don't have the luxury of any of the companies you mentioned. Even Crispy Creme donuts are only in 2 cities (unfortunately not mine). I can only imagine how good these flavours must be :)

8:52 AM  
Blogger Charlie Blockhead said...

Will definitely check it out. My fav of the moment is B&J's Stephen Colbert American Dream. Killed a pint last night.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Mom Watch said...

Yum! I am headed for a pint today! Thanks for the tip!

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post made me really want to try some ice cream.

i have not had it in months. Haha :)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

I check your blog nearly everyday and have it listed as one of my favorites on mine. Can't wait to see what you'll post next.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got some ice cream---try their mango sorbet

5:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am allergic to a lot of different kinds of sugar. When I was a child, my mother used to buy me this ice cream as it was the only kind that didn't make me very sick. I read this today and rushed to the store and bought 2 pints of it. Just ate my first bowl... The taste like you said, brought me back to being a kid again... it's exactly as I remember it. I urge all of you to buy this please so that I can continue to eat the only ice cream that I've found that doesn't make me sick!!!

9:09 PM  
Blogger Mishalak said...

I think Häagen-Dazs discontinued Vanilla Honey Bee this year. I cannot find it anymore and it is no longer listed on their website.

11:47 AM  

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