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Celebrating National Fudge Day with the fudge capital of the world

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Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 2:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Did you know the fudge capital of the world is a 3.8 square mile island between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan?

Mackinac Island – a National Historic Landmark – has been known for its fudge since the 1880′s.

In honor of National Fudge Day on June 16, Hannah Cumler takes a trip to the island to learn more about the Original Murdick’s Fudge – a shop that’s been making and selling fudge for 135 years.

Bob Benser, the owner of Murdick’s Fudge, says the business started in 1887 when the island’s Grand Hotel, was being built.

The Grand Hotel, located on Mackinac Island, was built in 1887. Known for having the world’s...
The Grand Hotel, located on Mackinac Island, was built in 1887. Known for having the world’s largest porch, the hotel has also welcomed several notable visitors, including 5 U.S. presidents.(Hannah Cumler)

“Mr. Murdick came to Mackinac, he was a sail-maker, and the Grand Hotel hired him to make the awnings,” explains Benser, “So his wife Sara, had all these fudge recipes and she stared Murdick’s fudge, right downtown on the middle of Main Street, on the water.”

The Benser family took over the business in the 1960′s and has continued to use the same Murdick family recipe, as well as the same fudge-making process.

From a copper kettle, the fudge is heated to just the right temperature, before it gets laid over a marble table.

The marble surface is important for the cooling process, as it absorbs the heat of the fudge after being poured from the kettle.

After the fudge has thickened, fudge makers use paddles to stroke the fudge back and forth before shaping it into a perfect loaf to slice.

Although involved, the process can be done by fudge makers across the globe, so what makes Mackinac’s fudge better than the rest?

“I think it partly has to do with the conditions up here – they’re perfect for making fudge,” says Benser. “For example, we have stores in Martha’s Vineyard, but it’s different because it’s very humid, so the timing is different.”

Mackinac Island is unique in many ways, aside from its perfect fudge-making conditions.

As some may know, automobiles were banned from the island in the 1880′s and the law remains in place to this day.

This means all transit is done by foot, horse, carriage, or bicycle.

Given that Murdick’s ships across the country (and Canada), fudge is likely to travel by horse, boat, and truck, before it arrives on your doorstep.

For more on the Original Murdick’s Fudge, visit its website: originalmurdicksfudge.com

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