October 7th is National Frappe Day.
Frappe (pronounced frap) is a New England term for milkshake, from the French frapper (frap-PAY), “to beat.”
It’s am iced beverage that is made in a blender or a shaker, to produce a foamy drink. Ice is added to increase the foaminess. Milk, sugar and flavorings can be added. Caramel or chocolate sauce can be garnishes, along with whipped cream and a host of others.
A frappe is not a milkshake, and it has its own holiday (National Milkshake Day is September 12th).
“When is a milkshake not a milkshake?” asks New England Magazine.
“In New England, of course, when it’s a frappe (or a cabinet).”
The article goes on to explain that:
We hadn’t thought about frappes and jimmies for decades; we lived in Boston long ago. When we moved back to the land of milkshakes and sprinkles, frappes and jimmies faded into the deepest recesses of memory.
But when we did live in the land of frappes, no one could tell us, a student of French and an editorial stickler, why the accent mark was left off.
Maybe the area’s menu typesetters didn’t have an aigu, the é with the accent mark? Certainly it couldn’t be that nobody knew French.
Etymology notwithstanding, it seems that “frappé” (with the accent) has finally come to New England thanks to L.A. Burdick, one of New England’s finest chocolatiers.
Burdick has café-chocolate shops in Walpole, New Hampshire (the original), Boston and Cambridge, with a more recent expansion to Chicago and New York City.
If you’re in the neighborhood, here are the addresses.
Burdick’s frappés combine a chocolate drink (milk and chocolate syrup) with crushed ice and fruit pureé (photo #1). His offerings:
1. PURÉE your fruit of choice. Sweeten lightly to taste.
2. MAKE a thick milkshake in the blender. Crush a couple of ice cubes with an ice tapper or a mallet.
3. PLACE the purée in the bottom of a tall glass, and top with the shake (photo #1).
4. GARNISH with whipped cream and a piece of the fruit.
If you’re near a store that sells Magnum ice cream, you can buy dark, milk or white chocolate ice cream.
Otherwise, punt, with regular vanilla or chocolate ice cream. We used Ghirardelli white chocolate syrup and Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.
Ingredients For 1 Drink
1. ADD the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass (or mason jar, or whatever)and garnish as desired.
*Nonpareils, the precursors of sprinkles/jimmies, date to at least the late 18th-century, if not earlier. They were used as decoration for pièces montées† and desserts.
The candy company Just Born (maker of Peeps, Mike & Ike, Peanut Chews and other favorites), then in in Brooklyn, New York, claims that its founder, Sam Born, invented the chocolate-flavored sprinkles he called jimmies. However, advertisements for chocolate sprinkles as a confection exist as far back as 1921, predating Just Born’s, established in 1923, by two years.
But head over to Holland: Dutch hagelslag (sprinkles) were invented in 1913 by Erven H. de Jong in Wormerveer. Here’s more of the story.
†A pièce montée (mounted piece) is a decorative confectionery centerpiece, created in an architectural or sculptural form. They are made for formal banquets and weddings, of ingredients as confectioner’s paste, nougat, marzipan, and spun sugar.
The great French Marie-Antoine Carême, a student of architecture, is reported to have said about pièces montées, that architecture is the most noble of the arts, and pastry the highest form of architecture [source].
**Fun fact: The original Frappuccino was made and trademarked by The Coffee Connection, a coffee shop in Massachusetts. They were bought out in 1994 by Starbucks, which tweaked the recipe a bit and popularized the sweet coffee drink that everyone knows today [source].