My name is Angelina, and I am a snowball addict. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? (Not that I am the least bit interested in curing this addiction.) I even passed it on to my two-year-old son, Jude. We probably indulge at least twice a week. It was evident we ate too many snowballs when he asked for one during our recent trip to Disney. Sorry kiddo, this may be the happiest place on Earth, but there are no snowballs here.
New Orleanians are nothing if not passionate, especially about our culinary culture. Snowballs here are like nowhere else, and everyone has a favorite stand and flavor. I remember taking my Seattle-born friend for her first snowball; she nearly lost her mind over all the flavors and the soft ice. Following my own knowledge (I consider myself somewhat of a snowball connoisseur) and recommendations of friends, I set out to taste the best of the best.
Plum Street (1300 Burdette Street, New Orleans & Lafreniere Park near the splash pad, Metairie)
Many know and love this Uptown fav, and they are often at many festivals throughout the city. This 72-year-old stand serves theirs in signature white Chinese takeout boxes. I always opt for the chocolate cream, but other favorite flavors are nectar cream and orchid creme vanilla. I’ve also been told to get the frozen mint, add a splash of bourbon and voila! Frozen mint julep.
Hansen’s (4801 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans)
I’m going to make a bold statement here and say this place is my favorite. Best. Ice. Ever. The flavors are not extensive, but it’s quality over quantity here. The satsuma tastes as if you bit into a fresh one. My husband always gets nectar cream, and this flavor remains a popular choice here as well. The most unique flavors are cream of coffee and cardamom, which I haven’t tried but was told by a multiple people they go out of their way for it. Of Hansen’s my friend said, “The ice here is like heaven. I’ll never go anywhere else.”
Sal’s (1823 Metairie Avenue, Metairie)
This old Metairie gem boasts homemade syrup with no preservatives, serving the area since 1960. They go through 1300 pounds of ice a day! Fun flavors like king cake keep the customers coming; they seem to do more volume than anyone else. It’s in a nice area with lots of space (tree stumps included) to enjoy your treat with the family.
Beaucoup Juice (4713 Freret, New Orleans)
Not your conventional snowball stand, this is a healthy take on the cool dessert. This was such a revelation for me. Finally, a snowball I can feel really good about eating! All natural, fresh fruit juice tops these bad boys. My favs are pineapple mint and watermelon. They also offer a variety of other juices, smoothies and wraps.
Ro-Bear’s (6869 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans)
Harahan residents flock to this stand throughout snowball season. Chocolate with condensed is a favorite, as well as praline and creole cream cheese. This stand also boasts great sugar free options.
Buck’s (133 Westbank Expressway, Westwego)
Lines 20 people deep regularly form at this West Bank favorite. With a newly added drive thru, people are flocking here. I LOVE it, because Jude can stay in the AC while we wait. They offer lids too, so I can let him have his snowball in the car. My favorite here is coconut cream, but they offer some new flavors like ruby pomegranate and honeydew. As a bonus, the Buck’s owners also have Martin Brothers in the same lot, so you can get some tasty boiled seafood.
Cold Spot (2837 Barataria Blvd, Marrero)
My hubby swears they have the best nectar cream in the area. I suppose this depends on how you prefer your ratio of syrup to cream, but this is his absolute favorite. I love their chocolate; I find it to be the richest tasting, which is great if you’re a real chocolate lover. We grew up minutes from this stand, so there’s nostalgia here for us.
Bot n Nola’s (71364 Highway 59, Abita Springs)
Northshore peeps love all the flavors and the large play area for kids to run around. A friend told me their syrup is “amazing”.
Papa Sam’s (2201 9th Street, Mandeville)
Fellow contributor Andie loves this North shore favorite. They have plenty of seating, including tables with umbrellas, which is great to keep your snowball from melting and the heat off your back!