It’s no secret that New Orleans in the summertime is a very hot place to be. Not only do the temperatures float up in the high nineties most days, but the humidity level is just as high, so finding ways to cool off is very important to do. One of our favorite ways to stay cool during the long summer months is with a snoball, a beloved local creation.
Snoballs are made with finely shaved ice and flavored cane syrup. On first glance, they appear similar to snow cones, but while the ice of a snow cone is coarse and crunchy, the ice for a snoball is fine and fluffy. In a snow cone, the flavored syrups sinks to the bottom of the cup, but in a snoball, the ice absorbs the syrup.
The snoballs as we know them have been around since 1933, when Ernest Hansen invented his motor-driven ice-shaving machine. For years, Hansen kept his invention in the family, making snoballs for his relatives. But in 1936, Ernest and his wife Mary opened up Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, a local institution that still stands on Tchoupitoulas Street. While Ernest would man the ice-shaving machine, Mary was in charge of making the syrups. Today, the business is still in the family, being managed by the Hansen’s granddaughter Ashley. They still make their own flavors every day, using the same secret recipes that Mary used, and shaving ice with the original machine.
Stopping by Hansen’s Sno-Bliz is a must on the Bucket List. The stand is open every day except Monday from 1 to 7 pm. But make sure you stop by when you have time to spare, as there is usually a long line out the door. So bring your umbrella and stay cool in line as you wait to enjoy one of our favorite frozen traditions that help make the summer a little less brutal.