We met with Sara Rohan, an author of a fantastic book on eating (that I suggest you read before heading over there) who spoke in great detail about the specifics of a sno-balls. From what I can determine, sno-balls and sno-cones are the same thing. To New Orleaners this comment is rather a travesty.. You see its all in the ice quality, the lighter the shave, the better the cone..
This shop had been selling sno-balls for years, Ernest had invented the machine that carved the ice, a better, softer ice than other cone makers. Mary made the syrups. The hardest decision I had to make on the trip was what my flavour was going to be – too much choice is dangerous.
I loved them then, my final choice of lime and satsuma was delicious, but more importantly I loved that it was such a simple pleasure. Kids and adults alike lined up outside, knowing their favourite flavours, getting excited, and getting messy. Somehow it was better than ice cream, and I say this with reverence – I am mad about ice cream… And it was better, because you could design your own..
We tasted many a granite in Napoli, mostly made on the streets with the lemon base, and then topped further with your flavour of choice. Some were made in a big barrel, iced from the outside by salt and large peices of ice, chilling the syrup within. Mostly we saw the churning machines, that reminded me of margaritas that I drank too many of when I was 18.
Now that we are back in London, and we have COPPA and 2 new sparkly sno cone/granite machines. We don’t have Ernests mechanical skills, but we do have a super-duper Japanese version, as the Japanese are also crazy about sno-cones. We have also been experimenting. As you may know, we have been making our own Chinotto syrup which we have now begun to add to our granite, and we also have a classic lemon sherbet, made by grating lemon zest for hours and seeping this in sugar syrup. This week we will add a delicious lime and sea salt, which evokes thoughts of the seaside.. The list will go on!
Upstairs at COPPA BAR & BBQ we are able to get even more inventive, and this time with boozyness. Our Cynar and Aperol granite is bitter but topped with our lemonade it makes for the perfect balance. We also layer one in our friend StellaCello’s pompelmocello which is a perfect after dinner treat. Frankly, the choice again can be dangerous, but always in a good way.