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Fames: The survival of the sweetest

From a cobblestoned German street to a pulsating Mediterranean port to a colorful Brooklyn neighborhood, Fames incorporates the best of each culture’s techniques in every luscious chocolate morsel.

A century in the making

Hardly anyone today can recall the joy of exchanging a fistful of coins for Mehrbaum’s fine hand-made chocolate morsels. Mehrbaum’s, the nineteenth-century German confection shoppe that made passersby inhale deeply, no longer exists. Due to the global political upheaval in the early twentieth century, Mr. Mehrbaum closed the thriving factory and set off with his family for foreign shores. His greatest valuable, the art of chocolate making, was safely stowed in his keen mind.

Passing the chocolate torch

Ever a visionary, Mr. Mehrbaum assured the legacy of his cherished chocolates by preparing well in advance for the next transition. He offered the sale of his factory to Jacob Frankel, a longtime friend and chocolate-lover. Far more precious than the factory and equipment was the intense training in classic methods and the closely guarded family secrets that came along with the deal. Mr. Mehrbaum had chosen well. Mr. Frankel immersed himself fully in the art of chocolate creation. The company’s unsurpassed reputation for the finest hand-made chocolates would be maintained.

Raising the Bar

Mr. Frankel’s passion for innovation led him to deeper explorations in chocolate territory. Drawing on the expertise of international maestros, he developed a unique line of crispy-thin wafers and chocolate confections. He then began producing quality spices to infuse his creations with unique flavor profiles. The king of his creations was halva, an item widely available but often of substandard quality. Authentic Middle-Eastern halva is tricky to produce, but Jacob wouldn’t have it any other way. Taking advantage of his proximity to Mediterranean culinary connoisseurs, he consulted, explored and tested until he achieved halva perfection.

Brooklyn gave him opportunity, he gave Brooklyn his chocolate

When Jacob Frankel emigrated with his family to America, they were thrilled to have an endlessly large canvas for their chocolate masterpieces. The children quickly found their place in the colorful cityscape of Brooklyn New York, while their parents worked on establishing the chocolate factory at 558 Manhattan Avenue. Other mothers stirred soup while supervising homework hour; Mrs. Frankel stirred ganache, raspberry cream, and marshmallow paste. By the time their son David was deemed skilled enough to work in the family enterprise he had spent hundreds of hours immersed in the creamy world of chocolate. “David, mix a paste. Do it yourself,” his mother would coach. Her faith in him paid off. Another generation of fellow Brooklynites would enjoy delectable chocolates.

Spreading the Sweetness

With David and his wife Hindy at the helm, Fames Chocolates outgrew its premises and moved several times, first to 80 Union Street, then to Taaffe Place, and finally to its current location at 360 Flushing Avenue in vibrant Williamsburg, home to trendsetting artisans and entrepreneurs. Fames Chocolates, and its wholesale division - Pardas Chocolates, is a family business that proudly trains and employs homegrown talent. Both Joel Fried, David’s son-in-law and Joel Frankel, his son, are involved in the daily production. The third-generation Frankel chocolatier describes his deep attachment to the place. “Growing up, I would dream up excuses to spend the day at the chocolate factory.”

Fames - Factory

Fames: Old World tradition and New World flavors

Amid the swirling aromas and family banter, there’s plenty of hard work. Together, the Frankel family has increased sales by 400% over the last decade. Today, more than twenty trusted employees create small batches of premium gourmet chocolates, meticulously maintaining the company’s high standards and secret techniques. The chocolates, originally sold by the pound, achieved wide acclaim in specialty shops nationwide and abroad. With the introduction of a sumptuous gift line, Fames is the gift of choice for chocolate aficionados worldwide.

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