Skylite Snowballs

Cool Blue: Skylite Snowballs

By Stephanie Rosenbaum
with photos by Aya Brackett


On that hot August day two years ago, elbow-to-elbow with the sweaty crowds at Oakland’s first Eat Real Festival, all photographer Katie Baum wanted was a sweet, icy-cold snowball. Not the kind you’d throw at the back of your brother’s head, but a bona-fide Baltimore snowball, a tall scoop of pebbly crushed ice drenched in rainbow-bright syrup.


“Why not start a snowball truck?” Baum mused. A California snowball truck, that is, one that used homemade syrups in grownup flavors like jasmine tea and ginger-Meyer lemon. And why not get a little real gourmet cred, by asking Chez Panisse pastry chef Stacie Pierce to develop recipes making the most of seasonal fruit and locally made products like Tcho chocolate and Four Barrel coffee?

A little over a year later, in September, Skylite Snowballs* was tweeting the location of its chunky little blue truck, and scooping ice for the after-school set and their parents.

After a brief winter hiatus, Baum and her beloved Snowie3000 ice shaver are back on the streets. In between rainstorms, Skylite made the most of every sunny spring day with fresh citrus flavors like lime, tangelo, blood orange, and ruby grapefruit. Come summer, look for cherry, raspberry, strawberry, peach, and more, topped with another Baltimore must: a gooey spoonful of marshmallow topping. Homemade? Now you’re talkin’, hon.

To find the truck in its various East Bay locations, look for Katie’s tweets here: @skylithesnowball. For more information, go to

*Why “Skylite”? It’s a Baltimore thing, the name of a bright blue, super sweet ’n’ fruity flavor that the city loves.

Stephanie Rosenbaum is a longtime Bay Area food writer and the author of The Astrology Cookbook: A Cosmic Guide to Feasts of Love (Manic D Press), Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food (Williams-Sonoma) and Honey from Flower to Table (Chronicle Books). She blogs for Bay Area Bites on as well as on her own site, Adventures of the Pie Queen,

Oakland-based photographer Aya Brackett has been published in numerous books and shoots for publications including Gastronomica, the New York Times Magazine, the Sunday Telegraph (London), Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and Dwell. Her work has been shown in numerous galleries, is in private collections and in the permanent collection of the Crocker Art Museum.

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