Hansen’s Sno Bliz is a New Orleans institution, as quintessential as red beans and rice, necessary as Professor Longfellow, and magnificently appreciated for creating the only snow in the Big Easy. The seventy four year old shop, once owned and operated by the late Ernest and Mary Hansen, makes the best snoball, not sno-cone, in all of New Orleans.
No, it’s not like your typical crusty sno cone, the one that’s repping a crunchy heap of pebbles of ice, doused in basic flavors like lemon or mint. A sno ball is better than a real one, with it’s perfectly fluffy, snowflake texture, generously drizzled with homemade sweet syrups like cream of nectar. The late and great Ernest Hansen invented the first ice shaving machine; the second prototype, now sixty something years old, still operates as swiftly as it did on day one.
Ernest and Mary’s granddaughter, Ashley Hansen, is the current owner and magical operator of all things behind the counter. Early in the mornings, she mixes up homemade syrups like cream of nectar, stewed blueberries with maple syrup, ginger cayenne, and hazelnut, to name a few. By early afternoon when the heat index has reached debilitating numbers, the doors to the shop open like the gates of heaven, when she’s cranks up the shave ice machine, churning out perfectly fluffy bits of man made snow that most ski mountains would kill for.
There’s no way to skirt this issue. It’s hot as hell outside and we’re well into the dog days of summer.
So here’s what you need to do to chill out:
Tune in live at 6pm (EST) today, Thursday July 11th, 2013, to U Look Hungry, only on the Heritage Radio Network, to hear me chat with Ashley Hansen about the history of Hansen’s, what this New Orleans spot is all about, and so much more.
You can stream the live broadcast here, but if you miss the live interview because you are trying to order a garbage can sized container of sno-ball, take your time and download the (free) iTunes version here.