Frankenmuth Fudge Kitchen
Who doesn’t love fudge? This creamy confection is one of the most delicious treats known to man, and thankfully there are still plenty of shops across America that are making it the old-fashioned way, turning out some truly spectacular (and creative) specimens.
Fudge’s American roots can be traced to the 1880s, to a shop in Baltimore as well as New York’s Vassar College, where an early recipe caught on like wildfire and is still popular there today. Fudge made its way to the popular summer resort of Mackinac Island, Michigan, several years later, where it exploded in popularity, and today it’s essentially the island's signature snack, with numerous shops there turning out top-quality fudge.
Great fudge, however, can be found from coast to coast. In order to assemble our ranking, we canvassed the country for well-known fudge shops, with help from sources both in print and online. In order to be considered, the shops needed to make all their fudge from scratch by hand (preferably on-premises daily), had to be turning out some creative and delicious fudge varieties, and being a revered local institution certainly didn’t hurt. Many of America’s best fudge shops are family-run, some for generations, but all are making a truly artisanal product with a whole lot of care and love.
From a mother-daughter operation in Oklahoma that’s so popular it’s only open by appointment to several Mackinac Island mainstays, from a Nantucket must-visit to a San Francisco shop turning out some ingenious creations, reading about these shops will give you a serious hankering for some good old-fashioned fudge. Thankfully, most of these places ship! Read on to learn which fudge shops are America’s best.
Family run for more than 25 years, this tiny family-run fudge shop is turning out some incredibly unique flavors, including peach cobbler fudge with fresh peaches and Nilla wafers. All fudge is made on-premises, and the huge variety of flavors include peanut butter chocolate, penuche (brown sugar and vanilla), chocolate-coconut, and Snickers.
The Fudge Shoppe
In business since 1961, this Flemington institution sells some stunning chocolate creations, but it is best known for its good old-fashioned chocolate fudge. The team keeps it simple here with only a handful of flavors, including chocolate nut, vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Yelp / The Fudge Pot
One of Chicago’s finest candy shops since 1963, The Fudge Pot was founded by a second-generation candy maker named Jim Dattalo, who was trained in the candy-making arts by his uncle, an employee of the Mars Candy Company. Today it’s run by Jim’s son David, who’s turning out a wide variety of traditionally-made fudge.
Sweet As Fudge Candy Shoppe
Winfrey’s Fudge & Chocolates
Winfrey’s was founded by the husband and wife duo of Stuart and Christine Winfrey in 1979; today there are four locations across eastern Massachusetts. Old-fashioned fudge is one of Winfrey’s specialties, and with a wide variety of flavors including chocolate cashew caramel, chocolate cheesecake, cranberry walnut, cookie dough, mudslide, and rocky road, the selection will keep you coming back for more.
Aunt Leah’s Fudge / Facebook
This quaint little fudge shop, which was founded by a retired teacher more than 20 years ago, is today a Nantucket must-visit. More than 30 varieties of fudge are available, including cappuccino nut, chocolate M&M, Oreo, chocolate praline, cookies and cream, snickerdoodle, and crunchy chocolate peanut butter. They’re all handmade in the old-fashioned way. Keep in mind that it's only open by appointment, but when you’re there, don’t forget to stock up on chocolate covered cranberries!
This family-owned San Francisco sweet shop makes fresh fudge, taffy, and truffles. Its fudge comes in some varieties you won’t find anywhere else in America. California Earthquake (milk chocolate, coconut, and walnuts), chocolate caramel brownie, chocolate orange swirl, cookies and cream, creamsicle, and Cougar Butter (milk chocolate, caramel cream, coffee, caramel, and peanut butter) are just a few of its unique selections.
Murray Hotel Fudge Company
The Murray Hotel, which has been welcoming travelers to Mackinac Island for more than 130 years, has an in-house fudge shop that's absolutely legendary. Claiming to serve the largest fudge selection on the island, it’s all made fresh daily and flavors include blueberry cheesecake, Butterfinger, and turtle.
Opened in 1952 and expanded to seven locations by the mid-60s, today Marshall’s is located in Mackinaw City and is still made according to its traditional recipe. Vanilla triple chip, rocky road, chocolate peanut butter, penuche, and maple are some of Marshall’s most popular flavors.
Frankenmuth Fudge Kitchen
Since 1964, fudge-makers at Frankenmuth Fudge have been making their fudge in a copper kettle and hand-paddling it on a thick marble slab. The plain chocolate fudge is the one that put this shop on the map (and is still the top seller), but other top-selling varieties include mint chip, cookies and cream, vanilla nut, pistachio, and maple.
One of the finest candy shops in Texas, Jefferson Fudge, which opened in 1979, sells more than 20 different varieties of fudge today from a counter that’s more than 30 feet long. Fudge is handmade and the staff will let you try any variety you like, so make sure you sample the vanilla pecan, peach pecan amaretto, apricot nut, maple nut, peanut butter, and chocolate pecan before you settle on one. You know, just to be certain.
May’s Candy Shop
May’s, which has been a Mackinac Island institution since opening in 1881, has been run by five generations of candy makers. Its English toffee and peanut brittle are legendary, but its old-fashioned fudge, in flavors like amaretto chocolate chip, rum walnut, coconut, blueberry, and cherry, is a showstopper.
Kilwins was founded in 1947 by Don and Katy Kilwin, and today there are dozens of locations from Mackinaw City to Key West, with plenty more in the works. The fudge recipe used at all the locations was created by Don and Katy themselves, and crafted on marble slabs. Top selling flavors include classic chocolate, sea salt caramel, and turtle; with seasonal favorites including egg nog and peppermint stick.
Original Wisconsin Dells Fudge
This fudge shop opened in 1962 and today has four locations in town. All locations are still making fudge the old-fashioned way, in small batches using high-quality ingredients including Wisconsin cream and butter. Favorites include turtle, double dark chocolate, peanut butter, maple nut, and butter pecan, made with twice the butter.
Yelp/ Sarah M.
Fudge is nearly as popular a treat in the resort town of Gatlinburg as it is up on Mackinac Island, and locals and tourists alike know that the place to go for great fudge is Fudge Shoppe of the Smokies, which has two locations in town. Every batch of fudge here is made from scratch daily from high-quality ingredients in the traditional style (stirred in a copper pot and cooled on a marble slab), and formed by hand. Popular flavors include peanut butter pie, cookies and crème, penuche, and rocky road.
Sweet Prairie Home – Signature Fudge
Sweet Prairie Home was founded by a mother and daughter team in a small shop off Route 66 in 2013 after many years spent making fudge for festivals and holiday markets. Each batch is made by hand in a water bath kettle using the highest-quality ingredients possible, with seasonal flavors including caramel apple pie, carrot cake, eggnog, gingerbread, and chocolate cherry walnut. The duo has also mastered a fudge that’s made with fructose and isomalt instead of white sugar. Because the wholesale operation is booming, the shop is only open when the team is processing orders, so if you’re planning on dropping by make sure you call ahead to make an appointment!
Yelp / Russ F
Located on the historic Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, Florida, The Fudge Factory has been turning out handmade fudge since 1988. Made using an old family recipe, copper kettles, a marble slab, and a paddle, it doesn’t get more traditional than this. 14 flavors are available there, including chocolate peanut butter, chocolate mint, rocky road, maple walnut, and penuche walnut.
Ryba’s Fudge Shops
A Mackinac tradition for more than 60 years, today Ryba’s has two locations on both Mackinac Island and in Chicago. Its fudge is made by hand on big marble slabs, with flavors including Oreo, chocolate pecan, chocolate macadamia, German chocolate, and maple pecan.
Original Murdick’s Fudge
Murdick’s was one of the first candy shops to open in Mackinac Island back in 1887, and has been making fudge according to a recipe passed down by founder Jerome Murdick’s mother since day one. Today there are several local Michigan locations as well as three stores and a bakery on Martha’s Vineyard, making fudge the old-fashioned way using copper kettles and marble slabs in full view of the adoring public. Flavors include butter pecan, chocolate cherry, double chocolate caramel sea salt, Michigan Maple Walnut, and Traverse City Black Cherry.
Li-Lac has been producing some of New York’s finest chocolate (and fudge) since 1923. Its old-world, artisanal approach is still in practice at its factory in Brooklyn. While Li-Lac is best known for its selection of more than 140 chocolates, its fudge, made the same way for more than 90 years, is a must-try.
The Provincetown Fudge Factory opened in 1984, but you can be forgiven for thinking it opened in 1884. The fudge is hand-crafted in small batches using high-quality ingredients; the fact that each batch is hand-paddled in copper pots and can take up to eight hours results in a truly superior product. Its fudge is also available in some fun flavors, including Bailey’s Irish Crème, chocolate chip swirl, chocolate marshmallow, coconut, cranberry walnut, and chocolate peanut butter.
The Mill Fudge Factory
Located in a charming former grist mill in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, The Mill makes its fudge using an old family recipe and ingredients including Cabot butter and Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate. Supporters of the Slow Food movement, the owners (who opened the shop in 2006) are turning out some fun and creative fudge, in flavors including New Hampshire maple, natural peanut butter, chocolate raspberry, chocolate salted caramel, cranberry maple nut, and Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey.
Murdicks Fudge Frankenmuth
The Murdick family are the kings of fudge, and this offshoot, with locations in Frankenmuth and Mackinaw City, carries on the family legacy in a great way. Whereas the Mackinac Island and Martha’s Vineyard locations of Murdick’s were sold by the Murdick family in 1969, these are still in the family and fudge is made with a whole lot of care here in the traditional way. Flavors include chocolate cherry, German chocolate, maple walnut, mint chocolate chip, and rocky road.
Joann’s Fudge of Mackinac Island
JoAnn’s has been in business since 1969; today there are two Mackinac Island locations as well as one in Mackinaw City. Fudge is made daily in its quaint and charming shops with the highest quality cream and butter available, cooked in copper kettles over a gas flame and cooled on marble slabs, and is available in 29 varieties including butter pecan, double dark chocolate, pumpkin pie, and raspberry truffle. The fudge here is classic and simple, and just about perfect.
More From The Daily Meal: