What do you do when you find a forgotten can of condensed milk in the dark recesses of a cupboard? Susan Fleming and Ang Craven opened the Ochil Fudge Pantry after making fudge just for fun with such a can. Compliments on their endeavors flowed from friends and family, encouraging them to try making fudge for local food fairs. They were an instant hit. “Within nine months, the two of us had given up careers to give it a shot as fudgetiers, because everyone seemed to love it,” says Susan. Hang on, “fudgetiers”? “If someone who works with chocolate is a chocolatier, surely someone who works with fudge is a fudgetier!”
Scottish fudge is butter-rich compared to the cream-heavy American fudge of your local shopping mall. Authentic Scottish fudge has a crumbly, chewy texture that melts in the mouth, while their other specialty, Scottish tablet, is a slightly caramel-tasting version and crisp, not soft in texture. Ochil Fudge Pantry has produced over 100 recipes, with a regular core of 30-40 favorites, including salted caramel, butterscotch, heather honey, peanut butter, toasted walnut, and whisky.
Their first whisky fudge used Deanston 12 year old. The honeyed sweetness of the single malt whisky proved perfect for fudge making. Now, Deanston distillery visitors end their tour with a dram paired with a cube of whisky fudge. It is truly irresistible: after the sweetness of the fudge dissipates, the full flavor of the whisky comes through, leaving a luscious taste in the mouth. The fudgetiers have also launched fudge made with Bunnahabhain and Tobermory, and even tackled peated Ledaig. “It’s got the real smokiness right through…it’s not just a case of taking the whisky and throwing it in the fudge, it’s about getting the balance right. Ledaig was the toughest one to crack. If you like really good, smoky whisky, then we are one of the only companies able to produce a fudge with it.”
Every single batch is hand-beaten without fail, the open secret of their smooth, award-winning bars. “It’s a labor of love. A batch only makes 21 bars, so it’s seriously hard work when you’re hand-beating that much fudge,” says Fleming. The company logo features the iconic Rosie the Riveter, sleeves rolled up and ready to work. “It sums us up,” says Fleming. “It’s not fancy, not pretentious; it’s gritty and honest, with integrity.”
Available to buy at select distilleries, gift shops, and delicatessens.