Where the fudge did fudge come from?
It’s hard to believe that a creamy butter-rich treat such as fudge didn’t originate from the West Country, and in particular from Cornwall. But it didn’t . We love it and we sell it and we make it, but we didn’t invent it.
At least that’s what research tells us. The first recorded mention of fudge dates from the late 19th century in the USA. A female student at Vassar College, New York, talks about a fudge recipe from a cousin’s friend. She makes the fudge for a college auction and it is so popular that the trend spreads to other women’s colleges who begin to develop their own recipes.
Early fudge was made to a very precise recipe using exact measurements and cooking time and required constant stirring. The girls would apparently make up the fudge in their apartments, balancing on chairs to get a pan onto a gas lamp, as the following ditty reveals:
What is it that we love the best,
Of all the candies east or west,
Although to make them is a pest?
What perches us upon a chair
To stir a sauce-pan held in air,
Which, tipping, pours upon our hair —
What needs more stirring than oat-mush,
And more still when we’re in a rush,
But what’s e’en sweeter than a “crush”?
What subtle odor doth recall,
To artless minds that “long-owed call,”
On the sweet maiden up the hall?
The actual origin of fudge however, is thought to be just that: ‘a fudge’, or ‘a mistake’. A confectioner making a batch of caramels, fudged the recipe and a delicious mistake, now known as fudge, was born. The first recipe specified butter, milk and sugar which would now be considered a traditional British recipe. Today, American fudge often differs in two respects from our own: whipped cream instead of butter and the addition of chocolate flavouring.
So can we claim fudge as our own? While there is no hard evidence to prove when we first started eating and making fudge in this country, many regions, including areas in the north as well as the south, have their own traditional fudge recipes. Let’s just say that Copperpot Orginals Fudge, made in St Ives in Cornwall, has its own unique ingredients which can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world and that’s the combination of Cornish coastal air with lush green pastures and a warm, sub-tropical climate. And we’d like to thank the Americans for ‘fudging up’ (!).
Try our Copperpot Originals Butter Fudge for a taste of classic confectionery.