If you grew up in any town within a 30ish minute distance of Baltimore, you are bound to have experienced the immense pleasantry that is, in my humble opinion, the greatest summer treat ever given to humankind.
The snowball. (Sometimes known as snoball or sno-ball, all wonderful, all delicious.)
My friends at school always give me this look of bewilderment when I tell them a major point of excitement of going home to Maryland in the summer is getting a snowball.
It was a very sad day in my life when I learned that this wasn’t a thing everywhere, and suddenly I felt more blessed to have been born in Baltimore.
Immediately I am hit with the following questions.
“You mean a snow cone?”
No, a snowball. They’re totally different.
“Oh so it’s more like shaved ice?”
No, it’s not shaved ice.
No, definitely not like Rita’s.
My dad owned his own snowball stand when I was around four and sometimes I would hang out there and help out. My cousins would take the orders and as soon as they were ready I would be at the pickup window (standing on a chair because I couldn’t see that high) handing the customers their delicacy.
So, allow me to explain. Sit back, relax, and get ready to be educated on the greatest summer treat in the world.
When one first encounters a snowball stand, the amount of flavors to choose from is through the roof. If you’re in the mood for a classic, definitely go for egg custard (a flavor so good and distinct I can’t describe what it tastes like other than saying it tastes like egg custard) or skylight (perfect middle choice if you want something less sour than blue raspberry but not as sweet as cotton candy).
The two key characteristics of a trademark Baltimore snowball are the consistency of the ice and the toppings.
The ice is the perfect middle ground between the compactness of a snow cone and the thinness of shaved ice. Even though you may get the occasional ice chunk at the bottom, it’s all worth it when that spoonful hits your tastebuds.
My favorite way to enjoy a snowball is with a signature topping – marshmallow.
When I explain this crucial element of this summer classic I am often met with a response much like this.
To which I respond in great offense…
The marshmallow topping adds a level of creamy sweetness that fills your heart with joy straight to the core.
Please do yourselves a favor, and take a trip to one of the greatest places in the world to thank your tastebuds for all they do for you by blessing them with this amazing treat.
And if you’re already in the area, count your blessings and go support your local snowball stand.
Keep on shining,