Monday, June 3, 2013

National Sno-ball Day - A New Orleans Summer Tradition

The editors over at The Daily Meal keep track of national food holidays. Apparently, today is National Sno-Ball Day -- read their story here.

Sno-Balls are a New Orleans summer tradition similar to what we New Yorkers call Sno-Cones but much better. It's a shaved ice treat that has the super smooth texture of a snowball, and is flavored with homemade syrups. Most flavors can be made "creamy" with the addition of a very New Orleans ingredient, sweetened condensed milk.  
 
Sno-Ball Sign at the New Orleans Jazz Fest Craft Fair April 2012 (Lexi Van de Walle)
Historically Sno-Balls have come in a variety of creative and exotic flavors from Almond and Banana to Kiwi and Mango as this nostalgic sign, which I discovered at Jazz Fest 2012, shows. There are regular flavors too: Lemon, Strawberry, Spearmint, Watermelon and Wild Cherry. Many of the flavors are made from local ingredients, and have a short season. Some year-round varieties, such as Praline, Bananas Foster, Creole Cream Cheese, Mardi Gras King Cake, Cafe Au Lait and Sassafras Root, scream "New Orleans".

In 2013, the long lines are worth the wait, and New Orleans shops are even more creative than those of times past with flavors such as Lavender Honey, Pineapple Ginger,  Coriander, and Cayenne Spiced Strawberry. 

Locals Enjoying a Snow Ball at the New Orleans Food Fest, March 2013 (Lexi Van de Walle)
And, if you can't make it to New Orleans, and you live in or are planning a trip to New York City, rumor has it that Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls is the real deal -- the machine and the ingredients are "imported" from New Orleans. You can find Imperial Woodpecker at the HESTER NIGHTS weekly food fair at the Eventi Hotel's outdoor plaza on Thursdays from 5-10 now til the end of September on Sixth Ave. between 29th and 30th Streets (or visit their website for info about a Sno-Ball party).


HISTORY: 
Popularized in the 1930s during the depression, the southern city is home to machines and brands with names like Hanson's Sno-Bliz, Southern Snow, and SnoWizard. Visit the Southern Food and Beverage Museum site for more history on the awesome treat.

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