‘Frigettu’ – with Eric Fradin, confectioner

Quite truthfully, I was looking forward to meeting a confectioner for a change.
A flavourful world of colour, imagination, and hard work. Eric and myself had met beforehand during a meeting in Ajaccio, and I had the pleasure of tasting his natural and inspiring creations – which of course, led me to want to learn more.
Having travelled to many countries, including the US, he finally left Lyon and arrived here in Corsica with his family, in 2013. However, let’s return in time and view his ‘atypical’ journey over the years.
When he was 13 years of age, his grandfather brought him to see a confectioner – this was to be an eye-opener for Eric, and a passion to grow over the years, never ceasing to increase – touring France and working with several confectioners, and even working and spending time with stallholders in fairgrounds.
One day, the Chamber of Commerce asked him if he would be willing to visit the US. The answer was evident, and spontaneous. Twisted sugar-coated lollipops would be made in Chicago, and from there he would spread and share his sugary world in Florida, Los Angeles and New York. But, I’d like to add a few words about his stay in Chicago. It so happened, somebody we all know just fell in love with his ‘crème brulée’ berlingots – this person was no other than Michèle Obama, who told him one day how much she appreciated them, and warmly thanked him.
The actual word ‘berlingot’ appeared in France during the fourteenth century. It was in fact, Pope Clement V who gave it this name, and there’s seems to be a story attached as to how the original word was mispronounced, and became ‘berlingot’.
To this day, ‘Frigettu’ produces around 15 aromas, and works with a flavourist. One can find poppy, violet, tangerine, mojito (without alcohol), crème brulée, myrtle and liquorice, amongst others.
However, the main attraction (so to speak), would be Laricciu pine sap, which I tasted when I was there – an explosion of savoury forest aromas ! I was quite surprised with the intensity too. All his choices are produced from natural, local products, and made in copper cooking pots, at 152°C for 12-15m. The sugar is poured, coloured, flavoured, stretched and aired – ‘ruban et filet’.
Of course I asked what the most popular choice is with the public, and seemingly this would be ‘tangerine’ – although, during the summer months with the tourists, he added ‘mojito’, which is quite sought after. As for his own personal choice, he prefers ‘citron’ and ‘tangerine’.                                                           
Now, he doesn’t just make lollipops and berlingots, he also offers caramels.
He possesses a very old family recipe, which he is very proud of – and, there’s an amusing story connected to this recipe. One day, he was contacted by a genealogist from Canada, who had come across a confectioner of the same name, many generations ago ! this family member possessed a book of precious recipes, one of which turned out to be these caramels he would choose to perpetuate today. An amazing story when you think of it – this recipe dates back to 1849.
As is usual here, many artisans and creators love to take part in the many fairs the island offers, and so does Eric. All in all, he participates in around fifteen fairs, so you won’t be surprised if you find him when you visit them yourselves. To name a few: Renno, Bastelicaccia, St Lucie de Tallano, Murzo and the Christmas market in Appietto – he loves meeting people there, so, you’ll be sure of a warm welcome.
‘Frigettu’ caters for weddings, christenings, birthdays and offers personalised packets which can be found in certain hotels, along with certain business companies. The prices are reasonable too, for example : 1 packet / 125g = 5euros, usually containing around twenty berlingots. So, there’s another bright idea for you and a pleasant change, when you are planning a future colourful celebration.
I was wondering what his thoughts were on the sweet industry in general today, to which he replied, it is too concentrated on animal gelatine instead of using plant gelatine, especially in industrial production – and we realise yet again, this in an ongoing problem in several sectors unfortunately.
There is also the question about insularity – how does he feel about that ?
– he finds this can be a problem for outside markets, which is quite understandable indeed. Many others have (and have had), the same remark to make – that’s really one of the main problems living on an island these days. Transport can flow smoothly, but, it can also be an unexpected surprise at times. Also the fact of not being able to just set off somewhere when you feel the urge.
Living on an island, means planning well ahead when you want to take to the road.
– blue ribbon Chamber of Commerce, Bastia
– quality diploma
– annuel international culinary order
– trophy ADEC concept
and other prizes along the way, here and there
‘Frigettu’ will be changing premises some time during the year, remaining in the area of Ajaccio, but with larger working possibilities in order to fulfill more important markets and orders – and initiate a mechanised production.
For now, those of you who would like to reach Eric, can certainly do so by means of mail, telephone and internet – or simply call around to see him at his present workshop in Mezzavia.
Opening/visiting hours: 14.30 – 17.30 – and open all year round
Chemin d’Appietto
20167 Mezzavia
tel: 0786813027
Remember, it is the sweet, simple things in life that often give the greatest pleasure ..

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