Being that we are smack in the middle of the holiday season, it is prime time for buying and giving (and eating!) Frangos. Have you had them? I think pretty much everyone has had a Frango at some point, but if you haven’t, head straight to your local Macy’s and pick up a hexagonal box of deliciousness. What’s a Frango? Basically it’s just flavored chocolate ganache covered in more chocolate, so how could this be bad?
Here in the PNW, we have a special connection to the Frango. They were invented in 1927 in the candy kitchen at Frederick & Nelson’s department store located at Sixth and Pine in downtown Seattle. There is currently an upper-scale mall on that site with a Tiffany & Co. and Barneys New York. Frederick & Nelson is special to my family because my grandma used to sell party favors there.
Starting in 1949, my grandma took special orders from customers at Frederick & Nelson and would make all manner of favors for bridal and baby showers, weddings, and birthdays. She made about a gazillion (my estimate) rose petal and baby bassinet nut cups, floral centerpieces, rice bags for weddings (back when that was still legal) and all manner of other crepe paper goods. She would deliver the orders to the store and submit her bill, then shop in anticipation of the upcoming check. When the check came, she would go shopping again. She says that my grandpa understood and never said anything about it and I think that is a perfect arrangement!
I barely remember Frederick & Nelson from growing up, but I definitely remember the original dark green Frango boxes. My mom brought this glazed chocolate tart to Thanksgiving and it is almost exactly the texture of a Frango. Here is my slightly tweaked version of the original recipe from Gourmet September 2008.
A note on flavors: yes, I really like chocolate and orange together. It reminds me of the “whack-and-unwrap” chocolate oranges I used to get in my stocking that I LOVED. If you are not a fan, just substitute the orange zest with vanilla or peppermint or raspberry extract or Irish creme, you get the idea.
My question to you: what is your favorite flavor of Frango?