by Alondra Medrano
The sun beats down on South Louisiana, the sweltering heat and humidity smothering the summer fun, yet that’s not enough to keep the spirits down. Instead Cajuns do like most things and replace the agony by consuming food. The particular cure for summers on the bayou are the combination of two ingredients: ice and sugar. Don’t let this simple recipe fool you, snowball lovers are crazy for this icy and refreshing treat.
First, it’s always called a snowball-not a snow cone or shaved ice. The ice is fluffier and better absorbs the flavors rather than trickling to the bottom of the cup.
Before the 1930’s, the ice was shaved by hand which resulted in a chunkier texture. It was in 1933 that Ernest Hansen invented a ice-shaving machine that created the consistency of snow, coining the term “sno-ball”. Ernst opened his first snowball stand in New Orleans, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which still runs today.
Next is picking the flavor, often referred to as “juice.” With options from strawberry to crawfish flavored snowballs, the possibilities are endless.
Over the years, snowball stands have provided the bayou area with its fair share of icy goodness. While some businesses have been around longer than others, snowball stands pride themselves on their specialty snowballs.
Curtis’ Snowballs has been serving the Thibodaux area for 39 years and continues to create signature flavors from scratch.
“The flavor is the most important factor” says employee Amy Rivera.
Many of the signature flavors are created daily with real cane sugar and secret flavor combinations. Curtis’ is famous for their Snickers bar inspired snowball that includes chocolate flavoring, peanuts, and warm fudge.
So what is the secret to the perfect snowball? The answer to that is different for all snowball stands.
“It may sound silly, but there is almost a science behind the creation of a snowball,” says the owner of Sno Shack Snowballs, Danielle Dufrene. The Sno Shack offers over 50 flavors with the addition of their very own concoctions like their specialty snowball, “Glow Worm.”
Its name and green color may initially seem odd, but its popularity amongst customers says otherwise. “Seeing our customers walk away happy with our snowballs is what makes me love my job,” says Danielle. “My kids love helping me at the stand. They see their school friends and it makes it fun for all of us.”
As for the best-selling flavor, both locations agreed that Strawberry takes the prize. But whatever your flavor of choice is, treat yourself to some toppings like condensed milk, gummy worms or maybe some extra juice. After all, it is your own creation.