I say granite, you say sno-balls, either way, I like mine boozy.

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Back in 2010, we popped in to Hansons Sno-Bliz, a place that has been open for almost 75 years, a New Orleans institution.

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..

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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.

IMG_1925Now 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!

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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.

Our American journey: redux

Firmly back in the land of reality now, after nearly two months off the road and back into the normality of our old routine. It’s easy to let the memories of our amazing trip fade back into he recesses of our minds but the truth is that 8000 miles through the heart of the USA does have a way of changing a person! Both E and I have returned invigorated and in my case slightly more hirsute – but grateful for the opportunities that lie in front of us both. It’s time to change things up.

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Walter’s Dogs are the stuff of legend

Pretty unbiased opinion, then. On the way back from the boondocks, and on the road into le Grand Pomme there is a hotdog stand called ‘Walter’s‘. And it sells tasty little snack-sized wieners that you can buy by the trio to give you a quick fast food fix.We added fries and a malt shake and believe me, it was something special. We’ve since discovered that in 2001, Walter’s hotdog was voted the No. 1 in America. Believe.

Again, our Roadfood book comes up a winner: if you’re ever traveling through the US then it’s a must-have. It’s pointed us in the right direction (nearly) every time…

Polyface Farm: a happy place to be, if you’re a piggy…

Joel Salatin is a rockstar farmer. I first saw him interviewed on the documentary ‘Food Inc.’ and he has been instrumental in bringing the farm – and this is the small multi-crop farm, not your industrial scale mono-crop farms – to the public’s attention.

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Hailing the School Bus Farmers Market

Mobile food is of great interest to me, as is the humble Farmers’ Market. When I bought People magazine a month or so ago, probably whilst picking up some fuel to feed my boredom on the road, I didn’t think that I would be reading about Mark Lilly and his food campaign.

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Wildwood Pork ‘N Beans

More campfire cooking goodness for y’all: we stayed at a somewhat spooky, if family-friendly campsite while in Virginia and cooked us some stewy porky food that will stay with me for the rest of this trip and beyond. Certainly my memories of the place we ate it in will…

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Townhouse in the hills of Virginia

Sometimes ‘destination’ restaurants really trouble me. Why put an amazing restaurant in the middle of nowhere – are you testing the commitment of your diners? How far will they go? Understandably if the setting is breathtakingly beautiful, then sure, I understand, but often they aren’t.

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