NEW ORLEANS and BALTIMORE
New Orleanians fight off the hot, swampy heat of summer with a snowball (also spelled “snoball”). Unlike snow cones, snowballs are made of shaved ice, not crushed, and have a fine, powdery texture. Local inventor Ernest Hansen is credited with patenting a motorized ice shaver in 1934, which he used to shave artificial snow from blocks of ice at his store Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which still opens its doors each summer from May through August. New Orleans’s snowballs come heavily doused with syrup — flavored with everything from root beer to honeydew and bubblegum — and are served with a straw and a spoon. Baltimore also has a strong snowball tradition that predates New Orleans’. There, the icy concoctions have been a summer staple since the late 19th century, and were once a common movie theatre snack. Cherry, chocolate and egg custard (made of vanilla, sugar and eggs) top the list of most popular flavors at shops like the beloved Walther Gardens, and locals know to ask for a dollop of marshmallow cream.