A Brief History of Fudge
The rich chocolate treat we have come to know and love seems to have been stumbled upon at the tail end of the 19th century. Some Food Historians claim to have zeroed in on the date, marking February 14th, 1886 as fudge’s official birthday. Sources suggest that Fudge derived its name from the exclamation, “Oh, fudge!” when its creator botched a batch of caramels by allowing the sugar to crystallize.
One of the earliest – if not the earliest altogether – documented references to fudge was found in a letter from one Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in New York.
In the letter, Hartridge noted that her cousin made fudge and sold it for 40 cents a’ pound. Hartridge got her cousin’s recipe and made about 30lbs of fudge for a senior auction. The treat was an immediate success, and caught on as a staple in women’s colleges everywhere.
In the following decade – recipes and combinations of ingredients similar to Hartridge’s own “original” creation started popping up in shops on Mackinac Island in Michigan. To this day, some of those shops still produce products from their time-tested, 19th century recipes.