“May we all stand united for the love of the plant!” – Frenchy Cannoli
In the early 1970s, a young man in France dreamed of faraway lands. He felt mesmerized by tales from the ancient Silk Road, the adventures of Marco Polo, and even the Hippie Trail. When he tried hashish for the first time, a vortex of sensation catalyzed his dreams and desires into reality.
His name is Frenchy Cannoli – Frenchy, an endearing nickname from English-speaking countries, and Cannoli, the shape of the hash he crafted in his early years. Today, he is the hunter of the melt - teacher, consultant, artisan, advocate, and above all else, master hash maker.
“When I started to travel when I was 18, I escaped the Western world because it made me feel like smoking hash was the worst thing I could do to myself,” admitted Frenchy. “But it was the most amazing well-being and experience I ever had.”
Frenchy became a complete nomad. He adopted the world as his school, and the world adopted him as a student. He traveled through Mexico, the Philippines, and Pakistan. In Nepal, he tasted ten-year aged Nepalese hash and described it as “mind-blowing” in a Soft Secrets interview. He dipped into the personal stashes of master hash-makers in Morocco and the Himalayas. He discovered cannabis as a divine sacrament in India and harvested charas by hand from live flowering plants during multiple grow seasons. His travels lasted the better part of twenty years.
Frenchy pursued the best hashish on the planet. But he found that it was not for sale. Instead, he had to cultivate, harvest, sieve, and press his own hash. He mastered ancient techniques of hash-making that surpassed commercial Western alternatives. Frenchy became a Hashishin, or hash devotee/master hash-maker.
In California, Frenchy discovered the power of utilizing the entire cannabis flower and plant. He encountered cannabis as a medicine and realized his vocation: teaching the next generation of hashishin. And that is exactly what he does. “My relation with Hashish had been at first a teenage love story, then it became the passion of a traveler but in California, it has been transformed into a total dedication to learning the science behind this plant’s amazing properties,” he writes.
His commitment to open-source education and his contagious passion make Frenchy a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable teacher. Writing for Cannabis Now, Erin Holland offers a tantalizing preview: “The group is totally enrapt, most with pen in hand taking notes, and are hanging on every word of the instructor during the daylong hash-making seminar.”
Frenchy developed custom equipment and an ice-water sieving method viable for fresh, frozen, and dry plant material. DIYers interested in making their own artisanal hash with this method do not require expensive equipment (a mini-washer and a few micro filters).
In Frenchy’s process, the hash maker adds trim/plant material, ice, and water to the mini-washer. The ice water hydrates the trim, priming resin heads for release. Frenchy points out that it is important to not add too much ice or trim because the ice is capable of knocking loose contaminants. Once the washer starts, swirling currents of water agitate the resin off the trim. Resin-saturated water funnels out from the washer and passes into filter bags that serve as sieves; then the resin is collected and dried in a dry freezer.
Frenchy hand-presses resin against natural cellophane paper with a clear wine bottle that contains boiling water. This decarboxylates many cannabinoids and alters the texture of the resin. He wraps the subsequent hash in cellophane paper and ages it in a dark cellar for at least two to three months. Age adds valuable layers of taste and potency. This traditional, hands-on process creates unparalleled world-class hashish.
Frenchy compares hash creation to winemaking, and not only because both age in dark cellars. He connects the importance of cherishing and protecting terroir, the environmental factors that determine wine grape characteristics, to the necessity of protecting small cannabis breeders/cultivators. He writes, “The French wine industry has left us with a blueprint in the history books on how to create a multi-billion-dollar industry on what is our small farmer’s strength - the quality of their genetics, their dedication to the plant, and the unique terroir of the land. The importance of protecting the efforts of our small farmers to produce quality, sun-grown, organic Cannabis cannot be stressed enough.”
The documentary series "Frenchy Dreams of Hashish" chronicles Frenchy’s hash-making craft in the Emerald Triangle (Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties) and the challenges of legalization for small farmers in the state of California. A flood of commercial cannabis and the costs associated with legal regulation are significant challenges facing cannabis artisans like Frenchy.
He also encountered resistance at dispensaries. Californian consumers were not initially keen on the appearance of traditional hash. “I went to every cannabis event in California… I would smoke people out and give a piece of hash to everybody who wanted to try it,” Frenchy said in an interview with Forest for the Trees.
Frenchy is determined to share everything he knows and enliven the fading art of traditional hashish. The Frenchy Cannoli website features short, cinematic lessons on topics such as how to roll a joint with hashish and how to dab with hash. Frenchy regularly attends expositions across the nation to spread his wisdom and joy. He also hosts hash-making workshops known as “The Lost Art of the Hashishin” all over the world.
Frenchy is now the official Hashishin for Aficionado, an exclusive designer seed company that specializes in Emerald Triangle genetics. Frenchy Cannoli brand products can be found at dispensaries throughout the state of California. Frenchy contributed to a rap/hip-hop album, “Crossing Strains 2: The Germination Process,” available on Amazon Music. Truly, his love for traditional hashish knows no bounds.
Written by Lance Griffin, Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine and Extraction Magazine.
Image: French Cannoli, Instagram