Growing up as a kid in New Jersey , it is practically a right of passage you spend some time at the Jersey shore. We were no exception. When I was little (pre summer camp days) we spent a week every year down in Cape May. We would spend part of the time in Wildwood at the boardwalk. (We once found a bucket full of tickets under the boardwalk, but that is a story for another day). After our annual trips to Cape May, we spent most of our boardwalk time at Point Pleasant Beach where my dad’s cousin Marian lives. While visiting the Jersey shore it is practically a mandate you pick up some of the delicious fudge they have to offer. (Shout out to South Beach Sweets where my cousin Mary worked for many seasons).
However, it is NOT at the Jersey shore where my fondest fudge memories come into play, but rather another New Jersey landmark we used to frequent when I was little. http://www.lomb.com/ If you grew up in New Jersey, you have probably made at least one trip to the Land of Make Believe in Hope, NJ. We certainly did. I most remember the Land of Make Believe for their water slides, all year visits with Santa and pizza afterwards, Jenny Jump attraction, the midway games, and of COURSE their delicious fudge. After every trip to LOMB we would pick up a variety of fudge types and eat quite a bit of it on the car ride home. If you were a child like me me, there is a great chance many of your summertime memories include this delicious confection, but how did it come to be such a New Jersey staple?
Fudge has an origin that is a bit of mystery, but rumor has it, it was created one day by accident when the candy creator messed up a batch of caramels. Its origin can be traced to Vassar College in the late 1880s. Emelyn Hatridge made a batch of fudge after hearing that her friend’s cousin had made it first in Maryland. She did not start small, making thirty pounds for the college senior auction. (http://www.shorenewstoday.com/wildwood/history/in-another-time-hungry-yet/article_ea51801c-e751-58a0-a374-5aafe970bafc.html)
Fudge was the perfect beach treat because it did not melt like chocolate and was not sticky like taffy. The first New Jersey origins of fudge at the Boardwalk were traced back to this shop: http://douglasscandies.com/ Douglass candies opened in 1919 and has been a staple on the Wildwood boardwalk ever since. Douglass is now on its third generation of career candy makers!
I am going to delve more into the origins of this delicious candy (and you will hear back from me) , but for now let’s just be glad the Douglass family brought it to the Jersey shore, because let’s be serious, where would a shore trip be without it?
Anyway, all this fudge talk made me hungry for some of this delicious treat, so I had Dan make me some from this delicious recipe: http://veganstart.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-fudge/ Well folks, this vegan version is every bit as good as the ones I had growing up at the Jersey shore and the Land of Make Believe.