The History and Significance of Fudge

The History and Significance of Fudge


 Many moons ago, almost at the dawn of time, the mid 19th century to be more specific, the first batch of fudge was created. The exact “when” and “where” of this most momentous event is lost between the folding pages of time. I do not exaggerate. Quite literally no one knows where this vividly rich, melty creation came from or how it made its first appearance. It’s largely speculated that, somewhere in America, a homemade batch of caramel was ”fudged” (not a pun, although very apt) and went horribly wrong leading to a result that was terribly and deliciously right.

 While this explanation is quaint and magical, we cannot honestly avoid pointing out that this accidental “fudge” resembles the 17th century, Scotish confection, commonly known as “tablet”. Take a moment to ponder the strange coincidence of both our founder’s grandfather and this mystical “tablet” coming from a Gaelic ancestry.

  Okay. That's enough pondering.


Back to Fudge!

 Towards the end of the 19th century, homemade fudge found its way into the journal entries and letters of women attending Northeastern colleges. Very quickly thereafter, the confection was being sold in small shops from Maryland to Michigan, only continuing to increase in popularity as it was spread, physically as well as proverbially, across the tables of the world. 

 Owing to its ability to commingle with so many dynamic flavors and, for many, the excitement born of not fully understanding how to guarantee an excellent outcome, fudge continued in its popularity through the majority of the 20th century.

 Now, Anna and Allen Burry started the Fudge Shoppe in 1961 after Allen learned to make fudge in Delaware. Those recipes and processes he founded our company with are still the basis for our fudge, although we’ve continued to develop and expand on those methods, leading to a product that we’re increasingly proud of.

                                                   In 1988, Rich Gilchrest took over the production and improvement of our handcrafted fudge line.

 “You know, I learned to make candy before the flourishing of the internet so the refinement of our recipes came in large part from cook books I found in the industry or from antique stores."

 “Honestly, I am not a chemist, but as a candy maker I am in awe of food chemistry.  Frequently I am asked why I follow a certain process or timing in the making of a particular candy, and my answer is often, 'well, because that is the way I was taught, but it does matter.' Often I come in contact with a principle in chemistry that illuminates how I make candy."

 "We work with large copper kettles, dissolving solids in liquids to a point of saturation, but heating those liquids above boiling to accommodate more solids. Mixtures of ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream and water return to a solid form as they cool. The final state of the confections we make is impacted by the proportion percentage of the ingredients and by the action or inaction as they cool."

 “The solids from our fudge’s supersaturated solution are a mixture of granulated sugar and corn syrup. These sweeteners are a mixture of Sucrose, fructose, glucose; carbon chains with different properties. The introduction of corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup) assures us of a less sweet product and one that will tend toward small crystals in the final product."

Okay dad. Chill. My turn again.

 At the end of the day, the flavor of fudge is absolutely key, because obviously no one is going to enjoy a flavorless or a wrong-flavored bite of anything. BUT when it comes to making the best fudge, texture is king. The essential factor of “mouth-feel” is what separates the mediocre from the exceptional. So how is that smooth, melty, soft, rich, tantalizing, buttery consistency achieved?

 Rich says, “It’s fairly simple but strenuous. Well timed, vigorous mixing pushes the right sized crystals through the fudge and, like a game of blob-tag, those crystals grab on to and make more right sized crystals.  As it cools the once liquid mass becomes increasingly thick and we form it into loaves that resemble large loaves of bread. The smaller crystals from the ingredients and the process will deliver that superior, creamy mouth feel.”

Patience Rewarded

As you may be aware, this year, we've been celebrating 60 glorious years of making handcrafted fudge and chocolates in Flemington, New Jersey. As part of that celebration and as a reward for your patience as I droned on and on, we'd like to invite you to indulge a little bit with a fudge sale like no other! But this is a trade! 

We'll give you this BOGO deal if you promise to be intentional about the whole wild, delicious experience. Take the time to smell the rich aroma and the soft sensation of a knife sliding through the fudge. Think about the way you can almost taste the delicious flavor even before it has reached your mouth, then feel the velvety smoothness as you bite through and the way the fudge melts so easily, filling your pallet with robust flavor. Lastly, how does the experience makes you feel? Are you nostalgic or reflective? Peaceful? Maybe excited and energized? Maybe curious? 

This sale IS ONLY AVAILABLE FROM 11/4/21 to 11/5/21 so go have fun! Use promo "fudge60" online or show the following image in store to take advantage of this offer! This promotion is limited to 2 free slices. Experience intentionally! Spread Love! Share Chocolate!

Adam Gilchrest

Marketing and Production Manager


    Fifth Generation Candy Maker

5 comments

My son came home tonight with a wonderful chocolate covered caramel apple for me! When I asked him where he got it he said “The Fudge Shoppe” in Phillipsburg. After conversing a bit I was delighted to learn it sounds like a new branch from your Flemington Fudge Shoppe which is wonderful as I live in this neck of the woods and your new store is closer for me than my occasional trip to Flemington. Congratulations and Much Sweet Success!

Sue Lizzi November 04, 2021

I know your fudge is perfectly delicious purchased right out of the Fudge Shoppe case, but will shipping across the country affect its taste and texture?

Babette Galinak November 04, 2021

In the summertime, I love to watch Rich blend the fudgy liquid into the braided loaves of fudge. When I buy fudge for home or gifts, it is always fudge from The Fudge Shoppe because I want to give the best to my friends and family.

Katherine Moser November 04, 2021

Awesome article!!! Very well written, informative and interesting! I didn’t even know I’d be interested in the history of fudge, but wanted to keep reading until the end. The Fudge Shoppe continues to be a blessing to so many in so many ways. Thanks to everyone who makes it so.

Renee Fusco November 04, 2021

Great article, Adam! Super interesting and well written!

Sarah Montanye November 04, 2021

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