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Winter holidays are great for food. I grew up baking Pfeffernüsse, stollen, and gingerbread. Now I live on the East Coast and holidays come with pizzelles, panetonne, and cannoli. Nothing symbolizes a holiday like food.
Even in Philly, one of my holdout Christmas traditions from my family roots in Wisconsin is that there must be a holiday plate of Frango chocolate meltaway mints. Just the name... Frango... sounds festive.
|Manda from flickr.com|
And then in 2005, Marshall Field's was gone, bought out by the chain that owns Macy’s, and the remnants turned into Macy’s stores. I was sad, but also hopeful. Philadelphia had no Marshall Field's stores—in my opinion this made the region sadly lacking—but we do have Macy's. Surely Macy's would now stock Frango mints! I would be able to buy them on a whim, just because, as a gift for a friend I was visiting, just as I had done in Milwaukee. And, especially, I would be able to buy them simply for the nostalgic joy of it at Christmas.
Macy's turned out to be a Grinch. Though the candies are still made (ironically, they are now made in Pennsylvania by Gertrude Hawk), they are not sold in Philadelphia area stores. I can buy them online, but that's simply not much fun and the shipping cost makes me grumble. The mints are still carried by the Milwaukee Macy's, however. Aisles of the candies happily beckon and I happily go on my annual Frango hunt. I fly to Milwaukee, visit Mom and my siblings, my son who still lives in Wisconsin, and a few friends. Sometimes we all pile over to Macy's and buy shopping bags full of Frango mints.
This year on my return trip my carryon luggage held a second pair of jeans, a sweater, pajamas, some socks and underwear... and ten boxes of Frango mints. I gave one box to my dentist, who sometimes charges me nothing for visits, I think because I bring him Frangos. One of my husband's 94 year old Italian aunts looks forward to her box every year since I started bringing them in 2001 hoping to ingratiate myself with the family. But I save the bulk of the Frangos for myself and my house.
Because Christmas isn't Christmas without holiday-decorated Frango mints on the table.
So what's your favorite Christmas candy?
Also, this is the last post for which comments also count toward my giveaway drawing for the Purrfectly Giftastic Blog Hop! Have a joyous holiday.