Owners John and Stacey were inspired to bring snowballs to the Southwest after a summer trip to New Orleans
John and Stacey Roads tasted their first snowball on a summer trip to New Orleans more than two decades ago. It was then that they decided Tucson would appreciate the frosty treat, too.
Stacey jokes, “On a hot day [in New Orleans] you know it’s hot because guys will have blue tongues, or maybe, red streaks down their arms from an icy snowball.”
Inspired by the taste and practicality of the comfort food treat, the Roads decided to make it their own and bring the concept home.
“Coconut cream is what made me do it,” Stacey says, alluding to the flavor she first tried in New Orleans.
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Sonoran Snoballs has served Tucson for 25 years from a trailer at the northeast corner of Campbell Avenue and Broadway Boulevard.
Though “Sonoran” is in the name, and the bright trailer is found parked in front of El Beto, the snowballs are Sonoran purely by location.
On the other hand, the syrups they use come directly from New Orleans, keeping the snowballs true to those frosty treats that originally inspired them.
Sonoran Snoballs offers over 50 flavors. John Roads recommends going straight for the favorite Dragon’s Blood. The bright red shaved ice tastes of raspberry and coconut, a blend that’s more floral than sweet. Ask Stacy, and she’ll say her favorite flavor is whichever one’s in her hand. Other flavors include Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate and Grape, which tastes like a tootsie roll, and Blueberry.
“My Strawberry is out of this world,” Stacey said. “And I have a Green Apple that will knock your socks off — it’s better than a Jolly Rancher.”
The first Sonoran Snoballs trailer proudly standing on the corner of Campbell and Broadway for 23 years!
They’re sweet, but in terms of calories, Stacey says, “It’s much less caloric than a glass of orange juice.”
“It’s not for the diabetic,” John added.
There’s even a “with cream” option. It’s condensed milk over the top of the ice, which gives the dessert a completely different texture, making it more indulgent.
Snowballs use crystallized, finer bits of ice. So instead of syrup that falls off the large ice shavings to the bottom of the cup of a snowcone, snowballs absorb and hold the flavor.
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You’ll find the couple’s blue and red trailer at the intersection almost every evening if weather allows.
“When the sun goes down, we come out,” Stacey said. “But we have to put a time on it, so we say 6:30 pm.”
And, that is what we like to call, Tucson time.
Sonoran Snoballs is available for catering by appointment. The trailer is located on the lot by Campbell Avenue and Broadway Boulevard after 6:30 pm. every day.
For more information, call Sonoran Snoballs at (520) 275-9716 or keep up with Sonoran Snoballs AZ on Facebook.