365 Project Day 247: Sno Ball Blitz

Few treats are as celebrated in Nola as our beloved sno balls.  Yes, sno balls (or snoballs) - not snow balls or **shudder** snow cones, or icees or slurpees or even shaved ice, or whatever else you think you've had that's "just like it."  Any New Orleanian will quickly tell you that until you've had a real New Orleans sno ball, you ain't had nothin yet.  We love them so much that we regularly decorate with sno ball cutouts, brightly painted and hung on front doors in the summertime.

A selection of house-made syrups
in their typical serving bottles at Hansen's Sno Bliz
Why are they so special?  Well, everything about them is special really.  The texture of the ice.  The devices contrived to create that texture.  The seasonality - stands are (mostly) open only during the spring and summer.  The way they're served (Plum Street uses a Chinese to-go paper container in a plastic bag!).  The sheer amount of syrup used.  But mostly, the syrup itself.  The best stands make their own syrups - anywhere from twenty to several dozen flavors.

On offer are are your standard fruity flavors like pineapple, grape, and orange.  Some enterprising stands like Hansen's are branching out into fancy flavors like cucumber and giner.  And there are of course Nola's special "normals" that all stands offer, like spearmint (tastier than it sounds, usually verrrry dark green, and my Grandpa's absolute favorite), wedding cake (our traditional wedding cake is light and fluffy with an almond flavor), ice cream (sweet and... yellow for some reason?) and Nectar. (It's dark, peachy pink, super sweet, and, uh, nectar-ey? It is its own flavor that cannot be described, only tasted, and is based on nectar soda.)

Vegans, watch out for "cream" flavors, which really are made with milk!  They are also stand-dependent - for example, nectar is a cream at some stands but a regular at others.  Don't worry, they're usually labeled on the sign, and there's an upcharge for them so they're not the majority.

A typical Hansen's offering
Where should you get a sno ball in New Orleans?  Well now, that depends.  Everyone has a favorite stand, and will fiercely defend why that stand is head and shoulders undebatably 100% better than any other in the city.  This is sometimes, but not always, dependent on neighborhood of origin.  For instance, I can tell you that while those others are all fine and good, Sal's on Metairie Road is totally so much way better than any of that city nonsense.  For starters, they're open later!  And there's parking!  And their nectar flavor is the right color pink, not like those silly red ones!  And...  ;)

What is certain is that whether you end up at Sal's or Plum Street or Pandora's or Hansen's Sno Bliz or SnoWizard or anywhere else, you're in for a sugary treat of truly epic proportions.  Eat first, order a small, and be prepared to share.

The snoball-cup-only dumpster at Sal's


  1. I was sadly disappointed with a snow cone this summer. The ice particle size is so key.

  2. I have never heard of a sno ball! I have had a snow cone but I was not impressed, I hope I can make it to New Orleans to try a sno ball one day!


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