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Hokey pokey is a flavour of ice cream sold in New Zealand (also known as NZL) Flag of New Zealand.svg, also exported to Japan and the Pacific.

According to the New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association [1], Hokey Pokey Ice Cream is the nation's second most popular ice cream flavour (after vanilla). It is made by adding small, solid lumps of toffee to vanilla ice cream.


"Hokey pokey" was a slang term for ice cream in general in several areas — including New York [2] and parts of Great Britain — in the 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries, and specifically for the ice cream sold by street vendors, or "hokey-pokey" men. The vendors, said to be mostly of Italian descent, supposedly used a sales pitch or song involving the phrase "hokey pokey", for which several origins have been suggested, although no certain etymology is known.

The name may come from the term "hocus-pocus", or it may be a corruption of one of several Italian phrases. According to "The Encyclopedia of Food" (published 1923, New York) hokey pokey (in the U.S.) is "a term applied to mixed colors and flavors of ice cream in cake form". The Encyclopedia says the term originated from the Italian phrase oche poco - "oh how little". Alternative possible derivations include other similar-sounding Italian phrases: for example ecco un poco - "here is a (little) piece" or "ecce pocce" (roughly) "Get it here, it's cold".

Related Uses

  • There is also a sponge toffee confection known as "hokey pokey" sold in New Zealand.
  • Hokey Pokey (The Ice Cream Man) (1975) is a song by Richard & Linda Thompson.
  • In Ireland, the term 'Poke' is a common name for an ice cream
  • Hokey Pokey's Ice Creamery is an ice cream company in Corning, New York.
  • Hokey Pokey is also a term used in southern parts of Dominican Republic (also known as DOM) Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg to describe cinder toffee, which is the bubbly, chewy toffee found in crunchie bars and is an old English confectionery treat.