Snow Ball Season
It's springtime in New Orleans, which means snow ball stands are open for business.
Hansen's Sno-Bliz in Uptown is a popular snow ball stand.
King cake season is over, but there’s a new treat here to fulfill sugar cravings – snow balls are back. This past week marked the opening of some of the city’s most popular stands, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz and William’s Plum Street Snowballs, ushering in the beginning of Spring in New Orleans. If you’re looking to get out and soak up some of those warm rays while having a tasty springtime treat, snow balls are the perfect solution. Here is a guide to some of the city’s best stands and what they have to offer this season:
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz - Hansen’s is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year and was recently honored by the James Beard Foundation as being an “America’s Classic.” The stand was started by Ernest and Mary Hansen in 1939 and it is still family run, with granddaughter Ashley now holding the reins. Another special thing about Hansen’s is that Ernest invented the first ice shaving machine in 1934, which is still used at the shop today, and Mary created her own recipe for the first flavored syrups, which Ashley still uses to make the syrups every morning. And in the trend of adding more tart flavors to the menu, Ashley is introducing lavender honey to their list of flavors this year.
Williams Plum Street Snowball’s - Plum Street Snowballs is another old favorite in the Uptown area, serving 72 flavors since 1945 in their infamous pails. But this year they have expanded their reach to Metairie: In January they opened a new year-round location in Lafreniere Park, which also offers ice cream to get in on the stuffed snowball trend. Plum Street also has a thriving catering business and has booths at almost all of the major festivals in the city including French Quarter Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans Roadfood Festival, Satchmo Summer Fest and Italian Festival in Kenner.
Sals Snoballs - Sal’s Sno-balls is a Metairie snowball stand that has been around since 1960 and is a local hot spot. With 55 flavors, owner Steven Bell stays that they keep to “the traditional stuff” because that’s why people come back year after year. But what sets Sal’s apart from the rest is that they are open until 10:30 p.m. daily for anyone looking to satisfy a late-night snowball fix.
Pandora’s Snowballs - Pandora’s, located in the heart of Mid-City, is the stuffed snowball headquarters and they offer one of the biggest array of flavors with 130-140 options, including both cream and regular flavors. This year they are rolling out two new flavors, aqua berry, which is berry flavor with a teal blue color, and sky blue cream, which has a creamy texture with a blue sky color and a sweet creamy wedding cake flavor. They also offer not only ice cream stuffed snowballs, but also condensed milk stuffed snowballs, so there’s options for how rich you want your snowball to be. And they spiffed up the place by adding a brand new sign to the front of the stand this season.
Ike’s Snowballs - A lesser known snowball stand in Mid-City only a stone’s throw away from City Park, Ike’s offers not only snowballs, but also ice cream and other food items. But the biggest draw is that they are dog friendly and offer special “doggy snowball flavors,” which are chicken and roast beef.
Imperial Woodpecker Sno-balls - A New Orleans newcomer to the snowball scene, Imperial Woodpecker was originally set up in New York City’s Meatpacking District by owner Neesa Peterson to share that New Orleans “summertime experience” with East Coast residents. But in 2013 Peterson decided to move the business back to New Orleans to be closer to family and recently opened up in the Central Business District at the Riverwalk Marketplace. Even though this is a New Orleans newcomer, they have been serving up snowballs for three summers now and bring a fresh take to the snowball market. Their unique flavor options are definitely worth a try.