I often get asked how we make our lovely, homemade fudge to the quality we do, in the quantities needed to meet demand. People often point out that other successful fudge makers inevitably have to move to large premises, and in so doing lose the homemade nature of their fudge.
Well we made a decision very early on that making our fudge in our own kitchen, in our own home, was the thing that would set us apart from other producers, and that we wouldn’t sacrifice that. This means that on occasion we have to turn down potential business from retail outlets as we just don’t have capacity – but we would rather do that than sacrifice what makes our fudge special!
So how DO we make it? Well, the one nod to technology that we have made is investing in a fudge kettle. This piece of equipment controls the fudge temperature for us – a crucial part in the fudge making process.
We use it to help us make the fudge base, before we add all the wonderful ingredients that give us our full range of delicious flavours.
So into the fudge kettle go butter, sugar and milk, which are all then heated to the required temperate and mixed together.
This initial stage of the process takes approximately 1 hour, depending on the size of batch we’re making. Each full batch gives us about 150 bars of fudge, so to make enough fudge for large events it can take many hours just to give us sufficient fudge base.
Once the fudge base is ready, we pour about 8 cups worth into a mixing bowl – and it’s there that the magic really starts to happen!
At this stage we usually add the specific ingredients which give our fudge the wonderful flavours our customers love! We use natural ingredients – so whether it be natural peppermint oil or locally grown Bramley apples, the important thing is to keep the flavours fresh and lively.
Once the flavours are well and truly blended together, the next stage is to pour the fudge into trays ready to set or, for flavours where we’re combining different flavour fudges together such as mint chocolate, to be swirled together with the next batch.
Some flavours, such as rum & raisin, have further ingredients added once the fudge is in the trays (in the case of rum & raisin it’s the succulent rum-soaked raisins that get scrunched in at this point!).
Where we have to combine two batches of fudge together, such as mint chocolate or chocolate orange, once the first flavour batch is in the tray (e.g. mint), we add the second batch (e.g. chocolate) on top then swirl the two flavours together. This gives the wonderful, colourful effect that makes our fudge so mouthwatering to look at!
While the method used adds considerable time to the process, the outcome is well worth the effort.
In case you’re wondering why we share this technique with people, it’s because we don’t mind prospective fudge makers knowing how to do this as fudge really can look as good as it tastes and it shouldn’t be a secret how to achieve this – after all, we’re all fudge lovers!
Once the fudge is in the tray, final ingredients added and swirling complete, it’s time for patience. We cover the fudge and leave it overnight in a cool dry place to set. Then we look forward to the best part of all – the cutting and tasting!
The next day, we remove the fudge from the trays and begin preparing it for sale. First of all we trim the rough edges and it’s those off cuts we use for tasting. We have to be VERY disciplined at this point as there are usually several trays to test and so we have to pace ourselves with the tasting – not easy if we have an exciting new flavour on the menu!
Assuming we’re happy with the flavour, we then proceed to cut the fudge into bars ready for sale. As the fudge is cut, the bars are put into cartons and then packed into storage boxes to be kept fresh until they’re needed for sale – usually the next day at market, or in some cases, immediately packed for an online customer. The fact that our fudge is served so fresh is one of the reasons the flavours taste so good – the fudge moves very quickly from our kitchen to the customer’s plate and because we only attend local events & markets, it literally hasn’t travelled far either! It all makes our fudge a truly fresh, local product!
Happy fudge making!