Another spring has arrived in New Orleans, and accompanying it is the return of the snowball. Traditionally, snowball stands are open from March until the end of October, effectively going into hibernation for the winter. Dozens upon dozens of flavors find their way into sugary (and some sugar-free) syrups which are then liberally poured upon finely ground ice. The most popular flavors are ones like strawberry, banana, wedding cake, and bubble gum, but customers are increasingly seeking out more unusual flavors. Here is our selection of five unique snowballs to try during snowball season.
Mangonada Snowball from Freezy Street
Freezy Street, a local hand-rolled ice cream shop, has taken New Orleans by storm and now has four locations. While known for its ice cream, it offers snowballs as well. The mangonada snowball, named for the Mexican fruit drink of the same name, is a sweet, salty, spicy mix—typical of Mexican food, especially candy. It is made with mango juice as the base poured over ice, fresh mangos, chamoy, Tajín (a chili-lime salt), and fresh lime juice. Slurp up the mango juice and melted ice with a tamarind straw.
Grapefruit-Basil Snowball from Imperial Woodpecker
Imperial Woodpecker started in New York City in 2011, before owner Neesa Peterson moved back home to New Orleans in 2013. The menu includes a number of all-natural, house-made flavors on exceptionally fine ice (using the SnoWizard, of course). One of the most popular of the all-natural flavors is the grapefruit-basil snowball, made with fresh basil leaves transformed into syrup mixed with grapefruit juice. Both flavors are strong on their own but together enhance the other’s flavor.
Chantilly Cake Snowball from Sno-La
Have you ever tried a cheesecake-stuffed snowball? Sno-La‘s Chantilly cake snowball, stuffed with homemade cheesecake, is served with strawberry syrup and topped with condensed milk and fresh blueberries and strawberries. The Chantilly cake snowball is Sno-La’s most popular snowball and is available at all three locations.
Fresh Kumquat Snowball from Hansen’s
Now in its 80th year, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz is a community favorite. Traditionally, snowballs use flavor concentrates to create syrups, though many snowball stands have started developing their own homemade flavors too. Hansen’s is adept at developing unique flavors, including ginger-cayenne and cardamom. Right now, they are serving kumquat snowballs made with syrup harvested from fresh kumquats.
Doggy Snowball from Ike’s Snowballs
Ike’s Snowballs on City Park Avenue near City Park has a wide range of more traditional human-flavored snowballs (think watermelon, dreamsicle, and piña colada). If you happen to be standing in line to order yourself a snowball and have your dog in tow, give them a treat they will really appreciate. Ike’s doggy snowballs come in chicken and roast beef gravy flavors poured like syrup over ice.