Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fudge Extreme, A Candy Shop Tour

The “Nashville Fudge Kitchen” is an entire building at 175 South Van Buren in Nashville, Indiana. Inside as you’ll see from my photos are not only up to 26 flavors of fudge but also other candies both made there and purchased along with over 50 flavors of popcorn. There is no website so you have to call them at (812)988-0709 or write to them directly but the business card says “we ship anywhere”.

The treats I bought here were individually wrapped in slightly waxy white paper and placed into a plain white paper bag so I won’t give you a photo. With it came the apparently required plastic knife that seems part of the fudge deal. Instead here is a copy of their outdoor sign to tell you what is inside.

The sign though does not prepare you for all that is inside. These photographs will be a bit smaller so I can show you as much as possible, Sisters and Brothers, give you a feel for being there with me. When you first walk in, on the right hand side is large display for the homemade fudge and flavored popcorns. This display is so large it took two photos to try and do it justice as you see below.

To your left of this candy display is the rest of the sales space of the store but this is only one picture of it. They have other candies, jams, and treats that are not made in the store on what I think of more as bakery displays. Further to the left is an entire wall with more of the flavored popcorn. As you can see, they are getting in Fall and Halloween decorations. Since Halloween is a big candy holiday in the USA I'll be spending several reviews and posts on it so look ahead for that, Sisters and Brothers.

Further into the store just beyond the fudge and popcorn display are the marble counters where they make the fudge. The store owner, Debbie Bartes, in this picture hard at work, talked to me for a bit and gave me an orange information sheet about all that they sell. Of the fudge flavors on this list, half have chocolate in them but I didn't get 13 samples of fudge, I would have gone into a coma from the sugar, cocoa, and butter.

The area for making candy is large, with multiple marble work table, instructions on how to make the fudge, and racks to let it cool before it is cut and placed into the display cases to sell. While there appears to be a kitchen proper as well, I think part of these marble tables in several of the fudge places in Nashville is to show the potential buyer how it is made and get you interested in the product by making you feel part of that process. Below are two more small photos of the Nashville Fudge Kitchen candy making area.

The “Hand Dipped Caramel” measures 1.25 inches and is 0.75 inches thick. It feels a touch waxy to my fingertips but as promised does not melt. The covered caramel doesn’t seem to have a fragrance that I can sense even though I try very hard to find one. It breaks apart easily with my teeth and the semi-soft caramel inside is sweet and chewy. But the chocolate tastes very dull yet not creamy as I’d expect with a low cocoa milk chocolate. I’m disappointed at the final result.

The “Mint Bark” is actually rather complicated looking as I hope this photo can show. It has three different layers: dark bottom, green center, and lighter top which I’m guessing will be dark chocolate, mint, and milk chocolate in flavors. The sizes are all slightly different and this is 3.25 X 3 X 0.75 inches. The odors of cocoa and mint are fairly strong when I bring it to my nose and again the milk chocolate top feels a bit waxy in my hands, more so than the dark bottom layer. Taking a bite is more like snapping off a piece but it melts quickly in my mouth as their signs promise around the store. I can definitely taste dark and milk chocolate with a sharp yet cooling layer of mint between them. This is better than the caramel was in my opinion because it matches exactly what I’d expect — a good chocolate base, two of them in this case, and an intense mint flavor that lingers after the cocoa.

This is a little odd because I know the sign for this flavor said “Black Walnut Fudge” yet that is not a variety listed on the orange sheet you can get which gives all of the varies candies and varieties of them in the store that are made right there on the premise. You can see the walnuts in this ¼ pound piece of fudge and you can even smell their earthiness mixed with the cocoa. Just so you know, Sisters and Brothers, every sample of fudge from this store was purchased in ¼ pound slices because it is an easy division for the clerks to make and results in fairly simple math for me. The black walnut essence of this fudge is well defined and lingers long after the very sweet chocolate has left. There is cocoa here but it’s very highly sugared and melts very rapidly. This is almost overwhelmingly sweet in fact.

“Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge” is a very common variety of fudge I noticed in the shops in Nashville. I imagine this is so because it is relatively easy to make and with the popularity of both chocolate and peanut butter, a fairly safe bet for sells. When I take a whiff it has primarily a good peanut butter scent mixed with milk chocolate, a milder version of what I get from a Reese’s Cup for an example many of you might know. This is very firm when I cut it. Surprisingly it is also a bit chewy and sticky in my mouth with a honey like flavor to the peanut butter that completely overpowers the chocolate. Yes, you want peanut butter in your fudge but it if it is also supposed to be chocolate, you need to state that more strongly or simply go for the straight peanut butter variety.

The final sample from The Nashville Fudge Kitchen is the “Dark Chocolate Fudge” which is a bit darker in color than the other varieties I tried. When I cut into it, it is very firm and the cocoa scent wafts up into my nose. It has a definite darker cocoa taste than the other types of fudge to this point. This bitterness almost balances the sweetness of the fudge but it is still very rich and sugary.

Overall the candy products I tried from The Nashville Fudge Kitchen are very sugary in taste more than chocolaty. This is certainly true of most fudge so I’m not going to complain too strongly. Of these five products I sampled, my favorite for this store is the “Mint Bark” which tasted and smelled better than I expected. Of the three fudge varieties the “Dark Chocolate” is the one that lets most of the cocoa itself out and thus I have give it the highest grade in The Chocolate Cult.

The Milk Chocolate Acolyte bought three types of the popcorn and loved each one. There is a chocolate flavor listed for the popcorn so perhaps I’ll try that again at the Chocolate Walk in November sponsored by the Humane Society of Brown County.


mavido79 said...

I think I'm going to be on cocoa overload from this store alone during the Chocolate Walk. The chocolate popcorn sounds interesting.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I believe that during the walk each of the 30 stores will have a sample or two. I also am going to strongly suggest that everyone in our group take only the samples then we'll to stores at the end of the Walk if anyone wants to buy something. Trust me, carrying around chocolate while you visit stores isn't easy.

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