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The United States of Snow Cones

Posted: 08/18/2011 6:04 pm

Equally at home at the ballpark, the amusement park, and the sun-scorched summer sidewalk, syrup-doused snow cones are one of our favorite summertime treats. While the paper cups of brightly colored ice serve the single, sacred purpose of cooling us down, snow cones themselves come in an extraordinary variety of regional specialties, each cold, crystallized dessert boasting its own devoted following. From New Orleans's snowball, to Hawaii's shave ice, to the raspados found in L.A. and the Southwest, here's our guide to the United States of Snow Cones.

Snow Cones
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We can thank ice crushing machines — powerful enough to reduce blocks of ice into coarse pebbles in a matter of seconds — for the classic snow cone's delightfully crunchy bite. In 1919 a Dallas resident named Samuel Bert introduced snow cones at the Texas State Fair, and a year later patented the first automated ice crusher, helping to solidify the treat's place in American dessert history. True to their name, classic snow cones typically come served in waxed paper cones, which catch the sweet syrups that drip through the ice as you eat.

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