7 Buzzworthy Local Honey Products
Here are some of our favorite products using locally made honey in Hawai‘i.
As with wine, coffee and chocolate, honey tastes like the place from which it came, and no two varieties are alike. It’s a versatile ingredient, used in everything from drinks to skincare products to brunch dishes. You can use honey as a sugar-replacement sweetener or pour it straight down the hatch when you’ve got a sore throat.
In Hawai‘i, we’re lucky enough to have good weather year-round and diverse flowering plants that our honeybees love, resulting in many unique, hyper-local honeys. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Wilelaiki honey from Big Island Bees
Photo: Courtesy of Big Island Bees
Wilelaiki, or Christmas berry, is a beautiful yet invasive plant found on almost all of the Hawaiian Islands. Big Island Bees owner Whendi Grad says honeybees just love it, and we love the honey they make from it. It’s not as sweet as other honeys, but its rich, deep flavor is a nice complement to buttered toast and fruit. BIB also sells other types of honey, and products including lehua and cinnamon, Hawaiian honey mustard, balms and soaps online at bigislandbees.com. You can pick up honey at Costco. Visit the museum shop on the Big Island at 82-1140 Meli Road, Suite 102, Captain Cook, (808) 328-1315.
2. Honey Girl Organics products
Honey Girl Organics uses local honey, bee pollen, beeswax, propolis (a sort of bee-made glue known as a health supplement) and royal jelly in its products, which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, great for skin care. Almost all the ingredients are certified organic and easy on sensitive skin. Some of Honey Girl’s most popular products are the face serum, lotion, cleanser and makeup remover. Available at Whole Foods and honeygirlorganics.com.
3. Honeycomb from Mānoa Honey Co.
Photo: Steve Czerniak
It’s not just pretty—honeycomb has health benefits, too. Some people choose to spit out the waxy comb after chewing it and sucking out the honey, but it is edible. Try Mānoa Honey Co.’s honeycomb, the most natural form of honey you can get. The company also has delicious kiawe honey, as well as other flavors. Find it at The Compleat Kitchen and manoahoney.com.
4. Dishes using local honey
Photo: Courtesy of Alan Wong’s
Alan Wong, who partners with UH Hilo on the Adopt-a-Beehive program, uses local honey in his restaurant’s macadamia-nut-coconut lamb chops. At Artizen by MW, French toast comes topped with Big Island honey instead of syrup. At Piggy Smalls, the milk and honey dessert uses honeycomb candy and bee pollen. Plenty of restaurants use local honey in their recipes, whether they shop local or produce it themselves, as the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī does.
5. Rainbow Blossom honey from Hawaiian Rainbow Bees
Photo: David Croxford
At the annual Big Island Beekeepers Association’s Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge, Malcolm Yorkston’s honeys take home prizes in a number of categories. But it’s the Best of Show prize he’s most proud of, since professional judges do a blind tasting and choose his Rainbow Blossom honey over other contenders. Rainbow Blossom is a slightly sweet honey with a well-rounded taste from many types of flowers, dependent upon where his bees choose to fly. If you’re used to generic clover honey, this is a good gateway to more exotic flavors like macadamia nut, which Hawaiian Rainbow Bees also sells at rainbowbees.com.
6. Bee pollen at Banán
Bees gather pollen to feed their young—it contains everything they need, from protein to vitamins, so it’s no wonder people use it as a health supplement. Order some on your acai bowl, or try it on your banana soft serve at Banán, 1810 University Ave. (storefront) or 3212 Monsarrat Ave. (food truck).
7. Honey drinks
Photo: Courtesy of Monkeypod kitchen
Honey works as a sweetener in coffee or tea, but try it in beer (Big Island Brewhaus’ Golden Sabbath), wine (Volcano Winery’s macadamia nut honey wine), mead (Kaua‘i’s Nani Moon Meadery) and cocktails (such as Moku Kitchen and Monkeypod’s Mai Tai, pictured above, which uses a honey-liliko‘i foam).
Read more about the local honey industry in the February issue of HONOLULU Magazine, on newsstands Feb. 7, or click here for the digital edition. You can also purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com.