Shaved Ice

When we started this company, we had to become experts on shaved ice.

Shaved Ice

Ah, shaved ice - one of the finer delicacies in life. The origins of shaved ice go all the way back to Roman Emperor Nero in 27 B.C. Dang, that’s a long time ago! Nero sent his worker bees to the nearby mountains to collect snow, that he then brought back to flavor with a fruit and honey mixture. Who knew, right? The same thing was happening in Japan, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Shaved ice is ice that is finely shaved through a blade. It’s not chunks of ice. It’s not crushed ice. It’s not an icee or a slushie. It’s, simply put, ice that is shaved - imagine that. I know we’re really delving into some critical thinking here, but bear with me. The shaved ice allows for the delicious flavoring to really soak in and give it the best consistency around. Not too compact, not too fluffy - in the words of Goldilocks, JUST RIGHT.

Now shaved ice can be called all sorts of different things and there are some variances due to either how it’s prepared or what region it hails from. Who knew there was so much to know about shaved ice, right?

Kona Shaved Ice


Shout out to all of our friends down in The Big Easy and Charm City! That’s New Orleans and Baltimore for you non-geography types. (See? We’re learning so much! History, geography, culinary origins…) Boy, do they LOVE their snowballs. The term snowball originated in Baltimore, but has made it’s home in Cajun Country and they’ve made it their own. It’s shaved ice with a little southern flair. And that southern flair is cream! While they still top their shaved ice with delicious flavors, they add a little cream on it as well to make their snowballs just as sweet as they are!



Probably the variation most people are familiar with is the ever-loved sno cone. While a shaved ice can also be called a sno cone, sno cone typically refers to a product that's ice is more crushed and not as finely shaved as a shaved ice. You hear this often in the United States and Canada to refer to shaved ice. (Is the word shaved sounding weird to anyone else? No? Just me? Shaved. Shaved. Shaved.) One might be able to assume that the phrase sno (or snow) cone actually refers back to the original method of creating this delicious treat back with Emperor Nero and his snow-gatherers. And that's why we like our finely shaved ice to resemble snow. But nowadays, it's a bit of misdemeanor because a sno cone is typically more granular and crunchy and a shaved ice is more reminiscent of actual snow.



Remember the Japan thing? Let's revisit that. The Japanese were doing something similar as the Romans with the snow-gathering and the fruit-flavoring, and when they migrated to Hawaii, they started what is known as Hawaiian Shave Ice. No, that is not a typo, it's shaved ice without the "d". Essentially, it's the same as shaved ice - ice shaved by a blade, but it does have it's differences. Sometimes with shave ice, they add condensed milk, azuki beans or a scoop of ice cream at the bottom. This kind of shaved ice is mostly found in Hawaii, due to it's history.



And there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about shaved ice and it’s origins. Walk, don’t run, to tell all of your friends about this newly discovered information. And next time you grab a Kona Ice, impress your driver with your shaved ice knowledge. Or not. It’s up to you.

If you have more questions about Kona Ice, check out our main page by click on the Kona Ice logo at the top.

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