It’s finally summer in South Louisiana, which can only mean one thing: snowball season is upon us.
For those not native to Louisiana, the word “snowball” (colloquially “snoball” or “sno-ball”) may not mean anything to you. You may think “Oh, it’s shaved ice!” or, “Oh, like a snow cone?” But snowballs are so much more than that!
Snowballs were invented (or, at the very least, perfected) in New Orleans in 1933 when Ernest Hansen invented the first shaved ice machine. New Orleanians combined finely shaved ice and sugary flavored syrups to create a treat to beat the southern heat.
Today, snowballs are a standard across Louisiana. Classic flavors like strawberry and grape remain, but nowadays there are a much wider range of options.
Most stands now boast clear versions of classic flavors, the perfect choice for anyone who doesn’t want to stain their mouth blue, as well as, a broader range of nontraditional flavors like king cake, for those who have ever thought to themselves, “What if the flavor ‘cinnamon’ could be cold?”
Toppings such as caramel, sweetened condensed milk, gummy bears, and Oreos are also offered at snowball stands. At some select stands, you can stuff your snowball with ice cream or even cheesecake if you so choose.
Now that I have you craving a cool treat, come with me as I take you through four snowball options in the Baton Rouge area.
The Sno Shop
For the classic snowball connoisseur
If you’re seeking a snowball experience that is unbelievably classic, look no further than The Sno Shop, located on 3655A Perkins Rd. This, in my opinion, is a quintessential example of the classic snowball stand.
This stand has a wide variety of flavors to choose from, such as clear bubble gum, piña colada and ice cream, as well as, the typical fruity standards.
If you’re watching your weight, the stand offers many sugar-free takes on classic flavors.
If you are decidedly not watching your weight, you can also opt to stuff your snowball with gummy bears, ice cream or even dill pickles, if you’re into that sort of thing. The stand serves a variety of chips, candy, soft drinks, nachos and hot dogs, making The Sno Shop a one-stop shop for summertime treats.
The blacktop parking lot where the stand is located didn’t do much to help the heat, but the refreshing snowballs sure did!
You can check out The Sno Shop’s treats on Instagram @_thesnoshop.
For the adventurous snowball connoisseur
Rainbow Delites (10770 N Harrells Ferry Rd) offers something its competitors can’t match: a drive thru!
While Rainbow Delites offers many of the standard fruit flavors, they also bring to the table many fun flavor combinations, such as the Spiderman, a combination of red tropical punch and blue polar punch, and the Ninja Turtle, a combination of different citrus flavors. They also have more far-out flavors like coffee, wine cooler and praline.
Another perk of this shop is the widest range of sizes I’ve seen, ranging from kiddie (6 oz.) to jumbo (32 oz.)
This stand also serves lots of concession-style snacks and foods, including hot dogs, nachos and Frito pie, as well as, various chips and candies.
You can find Rainbow Delites on Instagram @rainbowdelites.
For the international snowball connoisseur
If you’re looking for a fresh take on the classic frozen treat, head to Sweet Society for their bingsu. Bingsu is a Korean interpretation of shaved ice, made from frozen milk or cream and topped with fresh fruit, cookie pieces or whipped cream.
While the flavor options for bingsu are much more subdued, essentially only consisting of strawberry, mango and Oreo, this makes complete sense. I shudder at the thought of king cake bingsu.
The texture of the ice is uniquely soft and melt-in-your-mouth compared to your typical snowball, and the natural flavoring is a welcome break from synthetic, though delicious, syrups found at the classic South Louisiana snowball stand. The shaved ice acting as its own natural sweetness also makes for a distinctive experience.
If that’s not enough to convince you, Sweet Society is located smack dab in the middle of Red Stick Social, a favorite gathering spot located on Government Street that is full of businesses. On the day I visited, the area was chock full of vendors and live music, making for a pleasant and lively backdrop.
You can scope out Sweet Society on Instagram @sweetsocietybr.
For the Baton Rouge native
Last, but certainly not least, is Snoman Snoballs. As a Baton Rouge native who has spent my entire life frequenting Snoman Snoballs, it’s a personal staple.
These are the best snowballs in Baton Rouge.
The texture of these snowballs is absolutely perfect. The ice is shaved to soft perfection with little to no clumps, and the syrup is always consistent and present without being overpowering. The lines, while long, are shockingly efficient, and the shade blocker at the Burbank location begs the question, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?”
The flavor options here range from orange and grape to tiger’s blood and cheesecake. Rainbow, a mixture of 5 colorful flavors, is a confusingly thrilling experience a la Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper. Toppings include caramel, gummy bears and cherries, as well as, the option to stuff your snowball with ice cream.
If you don’t want a snowball, you can also get soft serve ice cream, a milkshake or a sundae, as well as, classic concession food, such as nachos and hot dogs.
With locations both on Tiger Bend Road and Burbank Drive, Snoman Snoballs is a convenient and classic snowball option.
You can find them on Instagram @snomansnoballs.