Yes we all scream for ice cream – but in Hawaii we really scream for Hawaiian Shave Ice – even President Obama! Shave ice traces its history to Japan where it is known as Kakigori and dates back many, many years. Shave Ice enjoyed world-wide popularity after Japanese plantation workers immigrated to the Hawaiian Islands and took their traditional dessert with them, creating shave ice from large blocks of ice and using Japanese swords which were family heirlooms. It is also popular in Puerto Rico, which also had a large plantation culture – they referred to the cool treat as Piragua. In Italy, it is known as Granita.
In Hawaii, if you make it to the North Shore of Oahu, you must make a visit to the historic Matsumoto Shave Ice. This iconic shave ice spot has been around since 1951. The carloads of racing enthusiasts and the waves of surfers and hippies in the ‘1960s brought people from across the globe to this quaint store to purchase the shave ice, or “snow cone” cascading with their homemade syrup.
Today, on a warm, sunny day, the store produces 1,000 shave ice. Half of the customers are tourists. Many people from around the world have visited the store. If you come to Oahu, I suggest you take a drive to Oahu’s North Shore and visit Matsumoto Shave Ice. It really is an iconic Hawaii experience and should be part of a memorable day visiting the North Shore. www.matsumotoshaveice.com
If you are in town, I would suggest making a stop at Waiola Bakery and Shave Ice for an ice cream fix. This locally owned spot recently moved a few blocks from its original location to a busier venue across from the huge Safeway store. The fun thing about shave ice is selecting the flavors! At Waiola you can create your own creative blend of flavors or go with their most popular like Lychee, Lilikoi or watermelon.
Another Hawaiian treat not to be missed is Bubbies Ice Cream! Seriously, this is a different and truly tasty premium ice-cream experience. Bubbies has been making scrumptious nibbles for over 23 years and my personal favorite is Green Tea! This is a yummy bite size finger food of mochi ice cream. Imagine a harmonious combination of creamy gourmet ice cream wrapped in a sweetened rice confection, all resulting in a delectable bite-sized, one and a quarter ounce ball of happiness. www. bubbiesiceacream.gourmetfoodmall.com
Moving to a more traditional ice-cream, Lapperts Ice Cream Shoppe is the spot for you. Originally on Kauai, this unique premium ice-cream and coffee shop has six locations among the islands of Kauai, Maui and Oahu, Lappets aims to please with mindful ingredients and creative flavors. http://www.lappertshawaii.com/stores.html
If you are looking for a fabulous ice-cream cake or blended ice cream creation – head to Cold Stone Creamery. With five locations you will easily find a store for satisfy your sweet tooth. www.coldstonecreamery.com