A snow cone (or sno cone. Spanish: raspado) is a dessert item usually made of crushed or shaved ice, flavored with brightly colored sugary syrup, usually fruit-flavored. Variations include the "stuffed" snow cone, which has a layer of soft-serve vanilla ice cream inside. Some are served with a spoon, and some are eaten with the hands like an ice cream cone.
Samuel Bert of Dallas sold shaved ice at the State Fair of Texas in 1919, and he invented a snow cone-making machine in 1920. Bert was a fixture at the State Fair, selling his snow cones there (and selling his machines world-wide) until his death in 1984.
In 1934, inventor Ernest Hansen patented the first known "ice block shaver" in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was inspired to create a more refined and hygienic version of the popular Italian ice sold from push-carts in the city. His wife Mary created many flavors of fresh syrups to flavor his finely shaved artificial "snow". "Snowballs" have been popular in New Orleans ever since. Hansen continued work at the original Hansen's Sno-Bliz in Uptown New Orleans on Tchoupitoulas Street through 2005, although his granddaughter, Ashley Hansen, has taken over much of the workload. Mrs. Hansen died in late 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina and Mr. Hansen died in March 2006.
Usually, the snow cones are sold at stadiums and coliseums, and by ice cream vans or by car peddlers at parks. In New Orleans, there are "snowball stands" located in neighborhoods throughout the city, as well as the surrounding areas.
Snow cones are crushed either by hand or with specialized ice-crushing machines.
The snow cone is not an Icee.
In 1979 a popular children's toy was introduced called the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine that allowed kids to make a snow cone at home. Ice cubes were placed in a plastic machine shaped like Snoopy's doghouse. A hand-crank was used to make the shaved ice. The snow cone was flavored with syrup made from Flavor-Aid and dispensed from a dispenser that was shaped like Snoopy. It came with a plastic shovel and paper cups to put the snow cone in that are very similar to how one serves Italian Ice. This product is still sold today.
Flavored, syruped ice confections are popular around the world. The main differences among them are the available flavors, and whether the ice is ground or grated to a gravelly texture or shaved to a fine snow consistency. In the United States, snow cones are produced mostly as a ball-shaped treat. In Baltimore and New Orleans, they are called snowballs instead of snow cones.
In Cuba and many Cuban neighborhoods, they are known as "granizados," after the Spanish word granizo for hailstones. In Miami neighborhoods, they are often sold in conjunction with other frozen confections in ice cream trucks and stands throughout the city. A classic Cuban flavoring for granizados is anise, made from extracts of the star anise spice.
In Puerto Rico and many Puerto Rican neighborhoods, they are named "Piragua", because they are made in pyramid shapes and agua means water in Spanish. Most Puerto Rican snow cone vendors use street snow cone carts instead of fixed stands or kiosks. During the summer months in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, especially in New York and Philadelphia, "piragua" carts are often found on the streets and attract many customers. In Hawaii, "shave ice" is similar to snow cones, and is sold in cone-shaped paper cups. "Rainbow," a popular flavor, consists of three different colors of syrup chosen usually for their color rather than their taste compatibility. The ice is often shaved more finely than with other snow cones so that the syrup colors are retained longer, providing for a better presentation. Commonly, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is first added to the bottom of the cup, and is capped with condensed milk.
In Mexico and south Texas, a finely shaved and syruped ice is called a raspa, or raspado. Raspar is Spanish for "scrape"; hence raspado means, roughly, "scraped ice." Raspas come in a wide range of fruit flavors and classic Mexican flavors, such as leche (sweetened milk with cinnamon), picocito (lemon and chili powder), chamoy (fruits and chili sauce), cucumber, guanabana, guava, pistachio, tamarind, among others. In most areas of Texas they are called Shaved Ice.
In Lebanon, snowcones (المخروط الثلج) are widely known for their religious purposes in Maronite Catholicism. They are served to children entering their teenage years, prior to their confirmation in the Church. This practice dates back to the early 1960's, and was first began by Father Francis Ephrem Boustany, a priest in Bkerke, Lebanon. Today, snowcones are not limited to the Church. They are a popular summertime treat among both Maronites and Muslims.
In Colombia it is known as raspado or raspao, literally meaning scraped. It is usually made from crushed ice and fruit syrup topped with condensed milk. When these ingredients are combined with fresh fruit it is called cholado.
In the Dominican Republic and many Dominican neighborhoods, snow cones are called "frío frío". "Frío" is the word for "cold" and is thus named for the cold chills one gets while eating it.
Snow cones are sometimes confused with "Italian ices" or "water ices", but some water ice lovers distinguish between the two: snow cones are generally flavored after production, at the point of sale, whereas water ices are flavored as the ice is made. In Japan they are known as Kakigori.
In Peru they are known as "cremolada" and in some parts of the country as "raspadilla".
In Venezuela they are called Cepillados and are topped with condensed milk.
In South Asia, snow cones are enjoyed as a low-cost summer treat, often shaved by hand and served on a stick or a cup. In Pakistan it is often referred to as 'Gola' (Urdu: ﮔﻮﻟ) and in India as as 'Juski'.
Instructions with photos on how to use a snow cone machine:
CONCOCTING SWEET SUCCESS: TEAM AIMS TO CLAIM SNOW-CONE RECORD TWO TONS OF ORANGE-FLAVORED ICE COULD BRING THE WORLD TITLE HERE.(LOCAL)
Feb 25, 2001; Byline: MATTHEW JONES THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT VIRGINIA BEACH -- At first, no one paid any attention to the snow cone in their midst....