Frenchy Cannoli’s Ancient Art of Sieving Workshop (Photo Gallery)

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What is it like to learn from a legend? I had the chance to find out. In late July, I attended Frenchy Cannoli’s Lost Art of the Hashishin workshop at Urbn Leaf dispensary in San Diego. The 62-year-old celebrated craftsman has traveled the world and makes hashish in almost the same sieving tradition used for generations in Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, all producers since ancient times.

Not wanting to miss a beat, I arrived before the doors opened at 9 a.m. Soon, more than 40 other eager students and I enjoyed coffee and croissants while the master and Madame Cannoli (Frenchy’s wife, Kimberly, whom he met in 1980 in Nepal) set up a plastic mini washing machine, often referred to as a “mini- panda,” that can be purchased on Amazon.

The workshop began with an introduction to the ice-water sieving method, from the terpenes and trichomes to the appropriate micron sizes for sieving. Frenchy perfected the system to utilize two principal components: cold water and counter-current vortex agitation.

After lunch, the live demo continued with lessons about the right and wrong ways to sieve. Most importantly, we students learned how to correct any small mistakes and save our hash. The end result? Beautiful, fragrant hash patties. We could see the uniqueness in each as Frenchy laid them on his mat to dry. Then, he demonstrated making the “temple balls.”

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In mg’s July 2017 cover story about Frenchy, he explained less than 1 percent of the 600 or so people who have taken his class have gone on to “show what they learned at a high level. For some, it’s enough to have the knowledge.” I can see why, but I’m determined to try to become one of the 1 percent!

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