OMG, it's back. Last year, our Taster's Choice panel slogged through dozens of punishing blind taste tests (we double-dog dare you to sample ten cold chicken broths or Worcestershires without getting a little tetchy), and one glorious day we set our sights on a limited-edition Publix Premium ice cream called Hula Hula Macadamia Ice Cream as part of a "new products" roundup. The panel scooped, the panel swooned, the panel scooped again.
It was among the highest rated foods the group has ever tested, with a vanilla base, swirls of caramel and sweet-salty candied macadamias. The base was rich, the swirl with just the right burnt-sugar edge and the chunky bits crispy on the outside giving way to the plush oiliness of sweet macadamia nuts.
We raved about the Hula. And then it was gone. A Facebook page called Where's My Hula Hula Ice Cream? has an avid following, one disciple going so far as to stockpile 30 half-gallons last summer before it disappeared. It was due back in stores Jan. 3, but the Hula Hula Nation couldn't find it. Then it was spotted at a Publix in Windermere, then in Fish Hawk. And now Publix has graced us with widespread Hula.
A half-gallon runs $4.99. And is it worth it? One devotee described its magical powers thusly: "Hula Hula is a beautiful billowy place where the heat and the humidity don't play. A place where each bite takes away each overgrown blade of grass, each drop of cheek sweat, and each kid's holler. It takes me to a cooler version of me."
— Laura Reiley, Times Food Critic