So it's March, its lockdown, the world has gone mad, I'm isolating at home in Woodborough with family and shielding my young son who is high risk. Meanwhile my mother in law in Burton Joyce is also shielding so we formulate a plan between the whole family to keep her fed and begin a sort of meals on wheels. All is well, an extra plate here and there but after a few weeks she tires of my cooking (and I can't blame her!) and she starts eating less and less of the meals I make. We rack our brains and try to think of ways in which we can get energy into her more easily I start with baking cakes which is fine until the flour runs out and finally I offer to make her fudge.
I've never made fudge before with the exception of cheats fudge (melting a tin of condensed milk and a bar of chocolate together in the microwave) but how hard could it be right?
The first batch is OK - it's smooth with just the right amount of texture and more importantly it does the trick and is eaten quickly. Time to make more, however when I try and reproduce it a second time I I discover what a tricky medium sugar is to deal with! A degree either way and you can have either toffee or frosting or gritty fudge. Too little stirring and you burn it, too much stirring and well you get the picture, it becomes apparent to me its a swine to make consistently. Hell even using a different pan changed the outcome! It began to irritate me that I couldn't get it right and with more time on my hands than I knew what to do with I began my quest for perfection. I read up on the science of fudge making, learned about seed crystals, sucrose molecules and super saturated solutions and invested in a sugar thermometer. I learned so much - who knew that the weather would actually have an impact on how your fudge turns out? I kid you not!
Like some crazed middle aged housewife version of Willy Wonka I finally perfected the basic recipe and then continued experimenting with flavour dynamics. The only problem was you can I could only make a minimum of a kilo at a time and as mine and her weight soared I began handing out fudge to all my friends and family. Their feedback blew me away and when they said they would pay me to make it I decided I had nothing to lose, made a website, bought some packaging, learned about printing labels and started Fudgeology in earnest.
I love the satisfaction of seeing the batch turn out correctly, of cutting it into bitesize pieces, seeing the faces of someone tasting it for the first time and hearing the comments of how amazing it is.
I hope you will join me in the next step on this road to turning a (slightly obsessive) hobby into a little business.