Fudge has become almost impossible to come by in Tallahassee. First we close down the candy stores, then the ciche places in the mall, finally we closed down the chocolatier. What we did keep, however, is an independently owned, small franchise ice cream store, that set up to compete against the bigger Coldstone Creamery. It’s a place called The Marble Slab, and not only do they have great ice cream, but they hand-make their own fudge! I know, that’s what I said! Ok, come to think of it, you’re probably reading this from a place where fudge is sold in vending machines, and so you’re completely unimpressed. Well, suffice it to say, this place is a little smaller than there.
Fudge is not something in which most of us partake outside of that rare party we wind up at around Christmas time. It’s not something most of us make around the house, nor is it something most of us would be able to pull off immediately. Fudge is a severe chemistry experiment. The ingredients of milk, butter, and sugar all have to be mixed over a slowly rising heat, only measured as done when the temperature reaches precisely 238 degrees. It then has to be cooled to 115 degrees before beating it into the fantastic finished condition that it cools into. Most will include cocoa (or some other bitter-sweet chocolate) into this mix to make it complete, but actually a chocolate base doesn’t necessarily lend to the definition of fudge.
I’m actually not a true fan of fudge. I do like the sweets, of course I do. But, fudge is outrageously rich! A little too rich for my blood, to quote the poker player. That’s why I thought it was amusing when I asked the Marble Slab employee for a quarter pound (which is a 2″ x 2″ square) of nutty caramel fudge, she informed me that if I bought a whole pound, I’d get a quarter pound free. Man, the last time I had a quarter pound of fudge in the house, it last me well past a year — no joke!. Again, that’s not to say that I don’t like it. It’s delicious! It’s… just… so… rich!
I did slice off some of the quarter pound fudge in celebration of the day, of course, but like a really fine Scotch, I just can’t down this stuff all at once. It has to be “sipped.” Incidentally, I alluded to this earlier, but fudge does come in various flavors, not just chocolate. I’ve had some amazing pumpkin fudge, some not as amazing peanut-butter fudge, and a key lime fudge that I was quite ambivalent about because the texture just didn’t match my expectation of flavor. Marble Slab’s fudge, the nutty caramel stuff that I bought, was just plain alright, though!
So, in closing, please don’t go away Marble Slab. We need you!
See you Sunday for National Apple Pie Day!