|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Created by||Ernest Hansen|
|Main ingredients||Water, cane syrup, flavoring|
|Cookbook: Sno-ball Media: Sno-ball|
A sno-ball is a New Orleans confection made with finely shaved ice and flavored cane sugar syrup. Commonly confused with the snow cone, the ice of a sno-ball is fine and fluffy; while a snow cone's ice is coarse, crunchy, and granular. Moreover, in a snow cone the flavored syrup sinks to the bottom of the cup; while in a sno-ball the ice absorbs the syrup.
Sno-balls are a seasonal treat as they are generally sold only from roughly March to October. They are vended from "sno-ball stands" throughout New Orleans and in other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi.
Before the 1930s ice was manually scraped from a block of ice, producing a coarser, crunchier version of the sno-ball. In 1933, Ernest Hansen began work on an ice-shaving machine; and by 1934, he had invented the first motor-driven ice-shaving machine. For two years, Hansen kept the machine within his family, making sno-balls for only his children and relatives. In 1936, Ernest and his wife Mary took their machine to the streets of New Orleans and opened Hansen's Sno-Bliz. The business ran discontinuously for the following two years because Mary needed to care for her children. In 1939, they opened the shop and remained in business for the next 67 years.
By this time, grocer George Ortolano had invented his own ice-shaving machine, which he later called the Sno-Wizard. Ortolano redeveloped his wooden machine into one made of galvanized metal after he began receiving requests from people who wanted to use his machine to start their own businesses. Soon thereafter, he drew up blueprints for his machine and set his product into automated production. Ortolano's Sno-Wizards are now the primary sno-ball machines used in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf Coast.
The following list contains many of the sno-ball flavors available at sno-ball stands around New Orleans.
- Blue bubble gum
- Buttered popcorn 
- Cake batter 
- Chocolate 
- Cotton candy
- Cream soda
- French vanilla
- Ice cream
- Key lime pie 
- King cake 
- Lemon 
- Orchid cream vanilla
- Peanut butter 
- Piña colada
- Rocket 88
- Root beer
- Silver fox
- Strawberry 
- Tamarind 
- Tiger's blood
- Tutti frutti
- Vanilla malt 
- Wedding cake
- Stuffed sno-ball: a sno-ball stuffed with vanilla or chocolate softserve ice cream
- Cream-flavored sno-ball: a sno-ball made with flavored syrup mixed with evaporated milk
- Sugar-free sno-ball: a sno-ball made with sugar-free syrup
- Toppings: soft-serve ice cream, condensed milk, marshmallow fluff
Famous New Orleans sno-ball stands
|Casey's Snowballs||Metairie (W. Esplanade)||First opening in the 1960s and still going strong today, Casey's New Orleans Snowballs is one of Metairie's most famous stands and has expanded to now include a second location in Austin, Texas.|
|Hansen's Sno-Bliz||New Orleans (Uptown)||Open since 1939, Hansen's is a historic and popular New Orleans sno-ball stand. The shop still uses the same Sno-Bliz ice-shaving machine that Ernest Hansen first invented in 1934.|
|Sal's Sno-balls||Metairie (Old Metairie)||The owner of Sal's buys his ice from an ice factory in a nearby suburb. The transparency of the ice, which arrives in a 300-pound ice block means it has had air bubbles removed during the freezing process, which ensures finer, fluffier ice. Sal's also offers some of their own flavor concoctions, including Robin (nectar creme with ice cream flavor) and Pink Squirrel (nectar creme with almond flavor).|
|Williams Plum Street Snowballs||New Orleans (Uptown)||A popular stand in Uptown New Orleans, Plum Street's trademark is serving their sno-balls in Chinese takeout containers. Inventive flavors include roasted marshmallow, red velvet cake, lemon meringue cream and bananas Foster cream.|
|Pandora's Snowballs||New Orleans (Mid-City)||Open since 1970, Pandora's is a popular sno-ball stand in Mid-City. Pandora's list of flavors contains 113 syrups.|
|SnoWizard SnoBall Shoppe||New Orleans (Uptown)||A SnoBall stand on Magazine Street run by a company that also manufacturers shaved ice machines and makes SnoBall flavors.|
|Ro-Bear's Snowballs and Soft Serve||Harahan||Ro-Bear's boasts a long list of flavor concoctions, such as the Blue Hawaii (coconut, bubble gum and cream) and Creole Cream Cheese.|
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|"How It's Done: Hansen's Atomic Sno-Ball". WWLTV News.|