For hundreds of thousands of visitors to Cornwall every year, this region of England is iconic for its pretty harbour towns, rugged coastline, and, of course, it’s fantastic West Country produce. Cider, pasties, cream teas and fish and chips are all familiar staples of the traditional regional diet – but nothing is more reminiscent of childhood memories on the coast than handmade fudge. If you search for fudge long enough in Cornwall, you may see a familiar name popping up on the cobbled roads and high streets – that is, if the delicious smell of fudge cooking doesn’t draw you in first!
Roly’s Fudge has eight handmade fudge pantries in the region, and many more across the West Country. The company, established in 1987 and making fudge using a 150-year-old recipe, prides itself on making the best of handmade melt-in-the-mouth fudge. Each fudge pantry makes fudge on the premises – cooking and pouring the fudge on a marble slab in full view of customers and shaping and cutting it until the fudge has set.
Each Roly’s Fudge Pantry is run independently, giving each shop a unique look and feel. But one thing never alters from shop to shop – and that’s the texture of its fudge.
“Our slogan is ‘it’s crumbly!’ and that’s because it’s what new customers say when they try it for the first time”, explains Dannee, who helps run Roly’s Fudge today. “We make our fudge with real butter, milk and sugar. Then we add as high-quality ingredients as possible. So, for instance, in our Rum ‘n’ Raisin Fudge, we don’t add any flavourings or additives – it’s real raisins, and real rum that we pour straight into the pan!”.
Roly’s Fudge began over 30 years ago in the farmhouse kitchen of a 16th-century thatched cottage in the West Country, when the original founders Peter Riley and his wife Lindsey decided to make fudge on their kitchen table. Using Lindsey’s grandmother’s own recipes, the fudge was made using traditional methods in copper pans, which is still the method followed in Roly’s Fudge Pantries to this day.
“Thanks to the loyalty, innovations, and huge endeavours of our individual franchisees, to whom the business owes a large degree of its success, Roly’s Fudge still maintains that rare family feel”, says Peter Riley, original founder of Roly’s Fudge Pantry.
The company has won 45 food awards over the past decade, including 28 from the South West regional awards ‘Taste of the West’. Last year Roly’s Fudge won five Gold awards from Taste of the West, and recently won the very top award in the Confectionery Category – ‘Champion Confectionery 2017’ – for the new flavour Salted Maple & Pecan Fudge.
Not only this, but Roly’s Fudge now stocks three flavours of dairy-free fudge, accredited by the Vegan Society and made using organic coconut oil and cashew butter. “Dairy-free vegan fudge has been high on our agenda for several years, but it was hard to get it right”, says Dannee. “It had to still be our melt-in-the-mouth and crumbly taste – which took months of work and product testing to get right. But the response has been incredible!”.
In Cornwall, you can find Roly’s Fudge in St Ives, Newquay, Truro, Falmouth, Fowey, Polperro, Looe and Padstow.