In honor of International Fudge Day, here are some fabulous fun fudge facts from chef lecturers at Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Cape Town and Durban campuses
In the late 17th century, the word fudge meant “to fit together or adjust [clumsily].” Around 1800, the word was used to mean a hoax or cheat and by mid-century the use of the term “Oh, fudge!” as a kid-friendly expletive had come into favour, and was often used when something had been messed up. It’s believed that the first batch of fudge was created when someone was trying to make caramel and “fudged” up. The name stuck.
Fudge for the history books
The earliest origin story for fudge dates back to 1888 when American Emelyn Battersby Hartridge wrote a letter describing her introduction to the sweet treat through a friend’s cousin.
While the Americans claim fudge as their own invention, some think it is an offshoot of a confectionary from Scotland called tablet. Tablet, which is made with sugar, condensed milk and butter was first noted in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie in the early 18th century.
The record for the largest slab of fudge in the world weighed over 2 600 kilograms and was crafted at the Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada in 2010. It reportedly took a full week to make, and while ingredients aren’t available for this record, the previous record holder contained 320kg of butter, 1 270kg of chocolate and 1 155 litres of condensed milk.
The home of fudge
A tiny island in Michigan in the US considers itself the fudge capital of the world. There are upwards of a dozen fudge shops on Mackinac Island which is just 7 square kilometres in size with a population of 500. The oldest fudge shop on the island – Murdick’s Candy Kitchen – opened in 1887.
Mackinac Island churns out over 4 535 kgs of fudge daily during peak season. For production, fudge makers ship in about 10 tons of sugar each week and roughly 10 tons of butter each year. Every August, the island hosts the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, complete with events like Fudge on the Rocks where local bartenders craft fudge cocktails. Festival goers are referred to as “fudgies.”
Same fudge, so many ways
Mamie Eisenhower, the wife of the 34th US President Ike Eienshower (1953-61) was a huge fudge fan and even crafted her own recipe – named Mamie’s Million-Dollar Fudge – which included chopped nuts and marshmallow crème.
The hot fudge sundae was created in Hollywood at C.C. Brown’s, an iconic ice cream parlour on Hollywood Boulevard, where you could order an ice cream sundae with melted fudge (1906).