Driving down a lush tropical road on the Big Island of Hawaii, we reached the small, unassuming driveway we were looking for.We’d arrived at Rare Hawaiian Honey Company. The queens were being installed, so it was a big day. Not a parade, country fair or beauty pageant. Queen bees, being installed in beehives to produce some of the most exquisite honey in the world – rare Hawaiian organic white honey. Having loved this honey for many years, we were excited to discover its source. We heard the sound of busy, humming bees as soon as we opened the car doors.
Beautiful, Rare Hawaiian White Honey
The smiling owner and beekeeper extraordinaire, Richard Spiegel, kindly agreed to give us an education and tour about the production of his amazing white honey. Much to my excitement, he soon had me in a bee suit to meet the bees. I quickly grew more appreciative of how hard the bees work for the sweet elixir we often take for granted.
A honeybee lives only 3-4 weeks. In its short life it will produce about one tablespoon of honey. Queens live about three years. I will remember that each time I enjoy the sweet pleasure of honey. It’s truly a gift of nature to be appreciated.
Drawn to Hawaii for recuperation, Richard Spiegel never left. Instead, he discovered a hobby that turned into a passion and business. Anyone who tastes this honey is thankful that he stayed. For more than thirty years, Richard and his bees have been capturing the exquisite nectar of the Kiawe flower in its most natural form, employing a unique process and exact timing which create this incredible honey.
Artisan Honey & The Kiawe Forest
This is not mass-produced, commercial, liquid honey that pours; it’s a handcrafted, solid, artisanal honey that must be spread. The taste is like no honey that you have ever experienced. As Richard says, it is truly a taste of the magic of Hawaii. The bees harvest their nectar in a single 1000 acre forest where the Kiawe trees, a type of mesquite, grow. Those long, feathery, yellow floral blooms are the key.
Finishing Honey – Live & Healing
As high quality olive oil is used as finishing oil, this honey is “finishing” honey. You don’t want to heat it. Heating it would destroy the natural enzymes, changing it. This is live, healthy, healing food. It’s a treat to be appreciated and savored.
Spread it on toast, bagels, croissants, muffins, biscuits, crepes, pancakes or waffles. Mix it into plain yogurt to sweeten it. Spread it on crostini with goat cheese or cream cheese (Richard’s favorite). It’s pearlescent, delicate, creamy, tropical, and floral all at once. It melts on your tongue. It’s heavenly. I’m going to try making vinaigrettes with it as well.
After a fascinating few hours with Richard and his wife Candace, talking and taking photos, the day was done and the light fading. We left with a few jars of their precious honey to tuck into our luggage on the way home.
Molasses Bran Muffins with Hawaiian White Gold
This morning I baked molasses bran muffins on which to spread this white gold. I opened the Silk Honey first. It was like melting silk on my tongue. The organic White Honey with Lilikoi was next. It has a wonderful tropical taste with the exotic addition of passion fruit puree. And the White Honey is the original variety, rich and amazing. It looks like frosting in the jar. They also produce a style with ginger puree, which they were out of at the time of our visit. I’d like to toss that with roasted carrots and herbs.
One taste, and memories of that glorious afternoon flood back. And back we must go. The Big Island is calling. If you can’t find Rare Hawaiian Island Honey in your local fancy grocer (click here for retail locations), ship some from Hawaii. It’s worth it.
The recipe is from Bob’s Red Mill and uses their wheat bran. The recipe is on the bag. My notes are included below in the recipe.
Molasses Bran Muffins
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill wheat bran 2 ounces
- 1 1/2 cups Bob Red Mill whole wheat flour 6 1/2 ounces
- 1 teaspoon aluminium-free baking powder 4 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 6 grams
- 1 cup 2% low fat milk
- 1/2 cup molasses 6 ounces
- 3/4 cup applesauce 7 ounces
- 2 tablespoons oil grapeseed or melted coconut oil
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries 84 grams, the original recipe specifies raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped nuts walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine wheat bran, flour, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate smaller bowl blend milk, molasses, applesauce, oil and egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in the dried cranberries and nuts.
- Spoon into a sprayed muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes. My muffins take just 15 minutes at 385 degrees in a convection oven. Cool in the tins for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.