Want to put some spice into your gift-giving this year? How about some Sugar ‘n Spice?
Sugar ‘n Spice is the iconic frozen banana and Balboa bar stand on Balboa Island that’s been around for 75 years and still serving frozen concoctions to generations of families and visitors.
Now, Sugar ‘n Spice is offering nationwide shipping on its popular products so you can send friends and relatives around the country a bite of Balboa just in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and even New Year’s.
Sugar ‘n Spice dips and rolls their frozen bananas and Balboa bars in your choice of toppings and sends them via Goldbelly safely packaged with dry ice so they arrive overnight, frozen and ready to enjoy.
Each order is customizable and starts at just $69.
“We have people who said we must have this, so we would ship through UPS and with the cost of the box and dry ice it was $150,” said Will Alovis, who owns Sugar ‘n Spice along with his wife, Courtney. “People said they didn’t care, but it was not a sustainable system. Goldbelly made it so we can ship to customers around the country. We can do six packs and 12 packs, mix and match.”
In case you’re wondering, Courtney’s mother Helen Connolly purchased Sugar ‘n Spice in 1995. In 2014, Courtney and Will took it over when Helen became ill.
“Her mother had worked so hard for so many years to keep the business going, and we did not want it to go to another family who might not have cared as much,” explained Will. “The legacy aspect was really important. We could not see selling it to someone not connected to the community.”
Will said they met the son of the original owner, who lives in Laguna Beach. “It was important to him that it has continued—he sees it as his family’s legacy.”
And speaking of legacy, the frozen banana and Balboa bars will always be the mainstays of the business, but when they took over the business, Helen had nearly three dozen items on the menu. When the pandemic hit, the lines that always form in front of Sugar ‘n Spice were difficult to manage and have everyone social distance, so they pared down the menu, kept the biggest selling items and got rid of their soft serve ice cream machine.
“Our philosophy was that anything that took more than minute to make was off the menu,” said Courtney. “The goal was to free up the sidewalk.”
One item they added to the menu is the mango sorbet Balboa bar, which Will said is now their favorite item on the menu.
“Oh my gosh—it’s crazy good,” exclaimed Will.
He’s right. I tried the mango sorbet concoction, and also a Balboa bar dipped in peanut butter and rolled in peanut butter cup chunks with a peanut butter drizzle. The latter was deliciously decadent, while the mango sorbet dipped in dark chocolate and coated with coconut was refreshing, and the flavors practically exploded in my mouth.
Will and Courtney are now bringing their frosty delights to the public with their Sugar ‘n Spice van. They can serve hundreds of people at a time, but can also do smaller events of 75 to 100 people.
For the holidays, locals can pick up a home dipping kit, which contains the classic chocolate dip, rainbow sprinkles, peanuts and other toppings, sticks, trays, and instructions.
“We have special Christmas sprinkles, Hanukkah sprinkles, and a fall and winter flavor pack with apple pie topping, pumpkin pie and pecan toppings,” said Will, adding that “People can go bananas.”
And speaking of locals, Will said they have many longtime customers who tell them their grandparents or parents brought them there and now they take their children and grandchildren. Even many of their employees have bene coming to Sugar ‘n Spice since they were kids. Even I remember enjoying Balboa bars when I was growing up in Huntington Beach and made frequent visits to the island.
“It’s multi-generational,” stated Will. “To be part of that is beautiful. It feels very special to be able to be a fun part of people’s history.”
For more information, visit www.SugarNSpiceBalboaIsland.com or call (949) 673-8907.