S'no secret why NOLA snoballs are so good
May 21st, 2014
04:15 PM ET
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New Orleans is famous for its delicacies: Po-boys, jambalaya, gumbo, beignets. But here's one you might not have heard of: Snoballs. From March to September, hundreds of shops in the city have lines of customers waiting to get their hands on this New Orleans tradition.

The snoball (also spelled snowball or sno-ball depending on the stand) is a cup of finely shaved ice topped with fruit syrup. If you think this sounds exactly like a snow cone, don't you dare say that in New Orleans.

The difference between the snow cone and the snoball is more than just a name. It has to do with the way the ice is actually shaved down into soft, snow-like flakes. The texture is achieved thanks to machines manufactured and sold in the Big Easy, most famously by SnoWizard - one of the city's major snoball ambassadors.

SnoWizard was started in 1936 by New Orleans grocery store owner George J. Ortolano. Using his mechanical skills (he would later build ships in World War II), he invented the snoball machine. Owners insert a block of ice, rotate a lever and watch soft ice come out the other side. (Decades later, the design is still largely unchanged.)

Read - 80-year-old New Orleans firm cranks out 'snoballs'

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Filed under: New Orleans • New Orleans

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Berk Demirbulakli

    Snoballs are not only delicious but they feel so good on my hemorrhoids.

    May 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  2. catbell7

    Hawaiian Shaved Ice - some ice cream in the center with azuki beans – OMG who would ever want that syrup crap?

    May 25, 2014 at 3:10 am |
  3. Nathan Iverson

    Actually is started in Japan some time before 1200 A.D., was imported through Hawaii, where is called (Hawaiian) Shaved Ice, and then co-opted in New Orleans only after emigrating through West Coast cities and towns earlier. Get your facts straight. There is nothing New Orleans about this other than they changed the name.

    May 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • david

      they didnt say Snoballs were invented in new orleans, we just do it better. had them in other places and they dont taste as good.

      May 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
  4. Snowman

    You treat them really nice now.

    May 22, 2014 at 6:52 am |
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