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Originally published January 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 20, 2009 at 12:07 PM

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Fran's Chocolates scrambles to meet salted-caramel demand as fan Barack Obama is inaugurated

Barack Obama's love of salted caramels from Fran's Chocolates has the East Pike Street chocolatier racing to fill orders. Salted-caramel production is up 50 percent this month.

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Last spring, Fran Bigelow learned through a newspaper article that Barack Obama loves her salted caramels.

More news outlets picked it up, sending demand so high that Fran's Chocolates on East Pike Street has scaled back production of pre-Valentine's truffles and chocolate hearts to make room for more caramels.

This month, salted-caramel production is up 50 percent to more than 18,000 pieces a day.

"It's impossible to determine how much is due to the Obama connection and the inauguration," Bigelow said. Whatever the reason, she has yet to catch up with demand.

One customer sent the caramels to the White House, although Bigelow is not sure the candies got through security, and batches have been ordered for inauguration parties in Washington, D.C.

Dominique Evans, whose company Create the Vision Source is organizing the Shades of Blue Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C., ordered 800 pieces each of Barack and Michelle Obama's favorites — milk-chocolate-covered caramels with smoked salt and dark-chocolate-covered caramels with gray salt, respectively.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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