1898 - 1920: Julius Franzen
Dilettante’s Story begins with a man named Julius Rudolf Franzen. According to family journals, Julius left his home in Mediash, Hungary, to start a confectionery apprenticeship in Budapest at 12 years old. Due to his talent, Julius quickly received work across Europe and traveled to Vienna, Paris, and Russia.
In 1906, Julius became the Master Pastry Chef to his most famous patron, the last great Hapsburg emperor, Franz Joseph I. Dilettante would later name its signature Viennese medium roast coffee, The Hapsburg, to pay homage to Julius' work.
Throughout his experience as a confectioner, Julius compiled recipes in his Master Notebook. Inside were various recipes for chocolates, pastries, and other confections. This notebook served as an inspiration for his great-nephew and Dilettante founder, Dana Taylor Davenport.
Julius traveled with his mother, Anna, and sister, Ottilia, to America in 1910. After arriving at Ellis Island, Julius rode by train to Portland, Oregon, where the family decided to settle. Two years later, Julius established his first confectionary enterprise in America, the Chocolate Truffle Company.
The same year, Ottilia Franzen would marry Earl Remington Davenport, uniting the Franzen and Davenport families. Decades later, the diligent work and written recipe notebooks of Julius Franzen would lead to the creation of Dilettante Chocolates.
1921 - 1975: Earl
In 1921, Earl Davenport began a new profession as a candy maker, trained by Julius Franzen. Earl used his guidance to become a Master Confectioner. Two years later, Earl established the Davenport Chocolate Company in Portland, Oregon. The department stores Meier & Frank and Lipman & Wolf were the company’s first customers.
Shortly after the success of the Davenport Chocolate Company, Julius left Portland to pursue opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the year 1926, Earl Davenport relocated his family north to Walla Walla, Washington. Earl accepted the position as a director of the Bur-bee Candy Company. During this time, Earl began to train his two sons, Irving and Jerome, in all things confectionery.
Like Julius, Earl also kept meticulous records of his recipes in the form of hand-written notebooks. These notebooks contained his candy and confection formula experimentation. During a trip to San Francisco, Julius contributed his Master Recipes to Earl. Together, The Master Notebooks documented a wealth of knowledge over decades of professional work.
Earl Remington Davenport continued the family tradition of candy making alive in his household and community. Earl shared his knowledge of toffee, fudge, and all things confectionery in his candy-making courses. These lessons would bring in audiences of people to learn his craft.
Earl instructed thousands of people, but he did not expect his most successful student would be his own grandson.
1976 - 2005: Dana Davenport
In the year 1976, the original Dilettante Location opened in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Then named, The Dilettante, the store served coffee, chocolates, and pastries. The memorable store served as Seattle's first mocha experience.
The Master Notebooks and training from his Father Jerome and Uncle Irving helped Dana Davenport immeasurably. The knowledge and expertise of his family allowed Dana to perfect his craft and Dilettante's signature flavor: Ephemere.
Derived from the word Ephemeral, meaning a brief and fleeting experience, Ephemere brought together caramelized butter, sugar, and cream for a velvety smooth taste. As a result, Ephemere offers a deeply savory experience with a rich, full-bodied taste. Julius Franzen mentioned the Ephemere name in his Master Notebooks, but the flavor required Dana’s iteration to reach its full potential.
The Ephemere flavor began as a chocolate sauce to create mochas but soon incorporated itself into various confections, including the iconic Ephemere Truffle. Dana considers the Ephemere truffle his family's heirloom creation, a culmination of decades of combined experience.
Five years after The Dilettante opened its doors, Dana's work attracted the attention of The Pacific Northwest Wagner Festival. To celebrate the performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle, the festival commissioned Dilettante to create a confection. Named after the first of the four musical dramas, Dilettante introduced its Rheingold Toffee.
1982 marked the year of the 28th annual National Fancy Food and Confection Show in New York City. the Dilettante Chocolate Truffle Assortment received high honors, winning both the Grand Show Award and the Best Domestic Candy award. The award brought international attention to Dilettante and its specialty handcrafted truffles.
Dilettante's truffles received more attention after being featured on PBS with Julia Child. Julia Child's PBS television production, Dinner at Julia's, was filmed on location at the Dilettante Chocolate Factory on Cherry Street in Seattle's Central District.
Dilettante's Chocolate-Covered Fruit debuted in 1991. The original flavors included locally sourced dried cherries and apricots. The success of these two flavors led to the creation of chocolate-covered blueberries and strawberries, creating the classic fruit medley assortment.
Like his grandfather before him, Dana Davenport shared his culinary knowledge with others. In 1998, Dana Davenport embarked on a Chocolate Tour of Europe aboard the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship during her maiden season. Dana taught cruise guests the art of truffle and fudge making in various classes during the voyage.
Five years later, Dilettante created the first of its Mocha Cafes in the heart of downtown Seattle. The creation of the Hapsburg Viennese Medium Dark Roast coffee blend allowed the Mocha Café's coffee to perfectly pair with its chocolate.
2003 - 2019: The Dilettante Mocha Café
In the year 2003, Dilettante Chocolates experimented with the concept of a new Dilettante Chocolates location. This new location would combine Dilettante's experience and history with coffee with its renowned chocolates.
Although Dana served coffee in Dilettante locations in the past, this new concept would expand the espresso selections further. Customers could customize their own mocha and hot chocolate drinks inside the store by choosing their preferred chocolate flavor.
The Chocolate Scale would become the heart of this new concept. The different chocolate blends would be melted in pots behind the café counters, adding a fresh and luscious chocolate flavor to each drink. Embracing the idea of premium chocolate blends combined with whole-roasted coffee, Dilettante named this new store, The Dilettante Mocha Café.
The knowledge and skills passed down by Julius Franzen and Earl Davenport through the Master Notebooks would once again prove helpful. The recipes and techniques lead to a new Dilettante confection to be served hand in hand with Dilettante's coffee.
By using butter in ample proportions, baked confections could be made exceptionally tender. However, baking this way was a complicated process. The butter could easily cause the biscotti to crumble before it finished baking. Eventually, Dilettante created its first butter biscotti, a pastry to compliment the new Mocha Cafés.
During the year 2006, Dilettante Chocolates joined the Seattle Gourmet Foods family to answer expansion demands. The owners of Seattle Gourmet Foods, Kathy and Dave Taylor, worked with Dana Davenport to expand the mocha café concept and Dilettante's chocolate offerings. Within one year of partnering with Seattle Gourmet Foods, Dilettante created its iconic TruffleCremes.
In the year 2013, Dilettante Chocolates welcomed Kathy Taylor as its new owner. With her insightful leadership, and the dedication of her skilled team of confectioners, Dilettante continued to innovate and create new flavors and tastes.
As Dilettante's catalog expanded, so did the Mocha Cafés. With the help of its supporters, Dilettante Chocolates began opening several more Mocha Café locations around the Seattle area. Today, Dilettante has three Mocha Cafés, located in Bellevue, Sea-Tac Central Airport, and Kent Station. Visitors can treat themselves to Dilettante's signature mochas, pastries, and of course, chocolates.
2020 - Present: Continuing Dilettante's Legacy
Dilettante's Master Notebooks span three generations of confectioners. For decades, these notebooks remained a source of inspiration for Dilettante Chocolates. The recipes lead to numerous iconic flavors such as Ephemere, Rheingold Toffee, and Butter Biscotti. Eager to inspire a future generation of confectioners and pastry chefs, Dana decided to share these family heirloom recipes.
In the year 2020, Dilettante Chocolates welcomed Julie Reed to its creative team. At this time, Julie had advanced knowledge of the intricacies of artisan confectionery. After years of hard work, Julie received her Chocolatier Certification through Ecole Chocolat of Vancouver, B.C., in 2016. She spent several years working professionally as a chocolatier, gaining the experience necessary to lead Dilettante as its Head Chocolatier.
To properly prepare her, Dana Davenport offered his family's confectionery knowledge to Julie. After she read each recipe in the Master Notebooks, Julie continued Dilettante's long legacy of chocolate craftsmanship.
Now responsible for Dilettante's chocolate production, Julie maintains a commitment to quality. By handcrafting truffles, Julie can pursue her passion in creating and indulging in her edible artwork.
Today, Dilettante improves its craft with new modern cacao agriculture, the revival of heirloom plants, and new techniques. Using the Master Notebooks as a foundation to create unique and delicious flavor profiles, Julie Reed seeks to continue Dilettante's legacy.