It’s November here at The Franklin Fountain, and its old familiarities have returned to us once more– the gentle tumble of amber-rusted tree leaves, the trickled climb of chimney smoke into advancing sunsets, the increasingly bundled huddles of street traffic — the combined onset of these elements usually quiets our shop and our pace significantly, but this season we have received several unanticipated blessings. First and foremost, we have had an incredible influx of business due to the premiere of “Man Vs. Food” on The Travel Channel. For those out of the know, the show is hosted and ring-led by the larger-than-life Adam Richman, who, on a per-episode basis, is challenged with feats of the digestively-impossible. This specific episode dealt with the finest and the largest Philadelphia cuisine. Adam stopped at the Reading Terminal Market, engulfed a gargantuan cheese steak at Tony Luke’s, and, to top it all off, proudly traipsed through The Fountain’s doors to ingurgitate a few of our most mammoth concoctions, (namely the Mount Vesuvius, The Franklin Mint, and The Lightning Rod sundaes.)
Amidst the sprouting tufts of whipped cream, the frantic blizzard of brownies, the avalanching slabs of ice cream, and the out-spewed ooze of molten fudge, Richman remained. He has earned our applause and respect for withstanding the onslaught. With that said, the global broadcast of the show has brought us an unforeseen wave of new customers from all across the country, and, ostensibly, the planet. We have been jolted with a positive pandemonium; never before have we had to assemble so many Mount Vesuviae or Franklin Mints! It’s been unspeakably wonderful to welcome and delight a fresh new crop of locals and travelers into the shop. For more information on “Man vs. Food” and the hijinks of Richman, please peruse this web address: http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Man_v_Food
In other news, our “Hot Menu” has debuted to an enthusiastic public for yet another chilly season. With that, as prophesied, “The Great Pumpkin Sundae” has returned to the delight of our doted true-believers. The “Hot Sodas” are fizzing a happy warmth, and our novel “Hot Milkshakes” continue to bewilder and enthrall. The niceness of scent of flame-consumed homemade marshmallows in a graham cracker pinch cannot be understated, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with our “Toasted Marshmallow Malted”. Our pastry chef, Davina Soondrum, has graced us again with her scratch-made pies (Apple, Peach Praline, Mixed Berry and Shoo-Fly) which can be spun warm into our milkshakes.
Jennifer McGlinn, author and food historian, will be conducting an in-shop book signing here at the Fountain on Saturday November 28th from Noon until 5pm. To supplement her autography, gingerbread samples will be given to the arrived public. This would be the opportune time to announce the latest addition to the Franklin Fountain flavor list, “Gingerbread Ice Cream.” Our Gingerbread Ice Cream recipe is derived from McGlinn’s scholarship into historic gingerbread cookery receipts. Speaking of note-worthy Gingerbreadists, we would also like to take this time to highlight the overlooked profile of one Christopher Ludwick, whom was legendary in his time for baking gingerbread out of Letitia Court. (now Letitia Street, running parallel to The Franklin Fountain) Ludwick produced such high-quality gingerbread and in such fantastic quantities that Washington himself awarded Ludwick the status of Baker-General of the Continental Army during the War for Independence. By his toil and industry Ludwick prospered greatly, and contributed his proceeds to the revolutionary cause. We’d like to think that Ludwick would smile at the fact that Gingerbread Ice Cream is being produced in the very same Court he was baking in over two hundred years ago.
Another forgotten ice cream flavor that has made the holiday list is our new Chestnut Ice Cream (editor’s note: It’s astonishing. I’m not kidding.) By the account of all those who have tried it, it is rooted in some celestial plane. We sourced our chestnuts earlier in the year from Delmarvelous Chestnuts (www.buychestnuts.com), a couple of dedicated Delawarians resurrecting the nuts of the tree which, for over a century, has neared extinction (the unforgiving “Chestnut Blight” beggining in the 1860s which practically wiped the desiduous delites out of existence.) After decades of hybridization with Asiatic chestnut trees, these chestnuts are bona-fide, nearly 100% American Chestnut.) For our ice cream, we have spent hours peeling, boiling, and, candying the wonder-seeds to acquire an ice cream that, when tasted, elicits a sweet transcendence.
As you may have anticipated, our “CLEAR TOY CANDIES”, marveled-worldwide, will be produced once more following the Thanksgiving holiday. These beauteous figures are handcrafted with fire, grace, and tedium out of our basement workspace, being forged in a variance of over two-hundred and fifty cast iron candy molds. Their preparation is careful and laborious, our team of candymakers must gather in a space most bereft of heat and humidity to smelt sugar in antique copperware heated over kettle flame, then pour the scalding glow into the open mold
s. The candies can be tinted scarlet, emerald, or they may sparkle with aurulence in their natural hue. We encourage the lot of you to peer into our shop window on a wintry day where a full menagerie of these beauts will be exhibited, whilst they careen and refract the dimming day with glassy elegance.
HOWEVER, if you
would like to be witness to their stellar debut (and why shouldn’t you?), we invite and impel you to arrive at the Omni Hotel this November 28th promptly at 11 A.M., where we hope to furnish them amongst a gathered chorus of carolers, a ceremoniously-lit Christmas tree, and all the dazzling paraphernalia of the season! But more than this, we’ve good word that jolly old SAINT NICK will be arriving triumphantly to officiate the celebration. Do attend if you are able!
(photograph courtesy of Ruth Savitz)
Gentle readers, we thank you for keeping in touch with us here at “The Franklin Fountain”, and for your continued support and patronage. With due sincerity we wish you the best. May you all dwell in peace of mind, warmth of heart, and safety of soul this holiday season. And to be sure, with your allowance, it is with no small aim that we hope to contribute to your happiness with our cool sweets and salving spirits.
In warm regards with cool desserts,
The Franklin Fountain