Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Frozen Treat to Beat the Heat

My first ever business venture was when I was about eight years old, and my cousin Gretchen and I set up a snoball stand in my front yard. Our two flavors were grape and cherry Kool Aid, and our secret recipe for making ice was to put cubes in a washrag and beat it with a hammer.

“Ice is the number one key in making a good snoball,” says Toby Gaspard, professional snoball maker. “You want it to be like snow.”

Husband and wife, Toby and Kayla Gaspard own and manage Southern Snoball (next to the car wash) in Kaplan. Customers can drive up to the white building and order ice cream, nachos, chilidogs, and of course, snoballs. For the health conscious, sugar-free flavors are available, and for the un-health conscious, stuffing your frozen treat with chocolate or vanilla ice cream is a fantastic option.

“I’d suggest rainbow flavor to a new comer because it has strawberry, bubble gum and banana,” says Mrs. Gaspard. “A lot of kids also love having their snoball covered with Gummy Bears.”

According to Mr. Gaspard, the hardest part of running a snoball business is being on your feet all the time. The best part is serving the public.

“It’s a very physical job,” says Mr. Gaspard. “You have to be quick and keep the line moving. You also have to be friendly and have a lot of personality.”

The most popular flavors at Southern Snoball are the stuffed cotton candy, pink lady, and rainbow. Mr. Gaspard’s favorite is cotton candy stuffed with vanilla ice cream, but his wife prefers pink lady and their two-year old son, Aiden is a banana man.

“Snoballs are a part of summer,” says Mr. Gaspard. “I love seeing the excited looks on kids’ faces when I hand them the cup.”

Southern Snoball is opened Monday through Friday from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 P.M. to 6 P.M. But this fall the Gaspards plan to increase their hours when they start offering daily plate lunches.

I recently visited the snoball stand to find out more about this frozen treat industry. When I arrived, employee Alicia Gaspard, with the assistance of her two daughters, Shelbi and Alyssa, were servicing the customers. I had never been on the other side of a drive-thru before, which was kind of cool because looking through the window was like watching 3D television without having to wear the strange glasses.

When the owners arrived with their two sons, Mr. Gaspard showed me how to make a snoball. Instead of using my creative washrag and hammer method to make crushed ice, he used a large metal machine that lightly scraped a rectangular block of ice about the size of a loaf of bread. The result was homemade snow.

What the Gaspards didn’t know was that I was a serious snoball connoisseur who visited several stands throughout Louisiana, and then ranked them on different criteria. Speed, texture of ice, flavor options and price were all factors that determined my rating.

Considering that I had carte blanche when making my own snoball, (and they didn’t charge me) I gave Southern Snoball a ten out of ten. But I must advise those who are ever given the opportunity to be a kid in a candy store to stop at five flavors. Otherwise, your frozen treat to beat the heat will give you a sugar rush.

Southern Snoballs is located at 1214 Veterans Memorial Drive in Kaplan. To join my journal writing class beginning July 8th, please call 646-387-2558.

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