Giveaway: Celebrate National Fudge Day with Pure Michigan

Mackinac Island is world-famous for its fudge, and with National Fudge Day coming up on Sunday, June 16th, we thought it seemed fitting to celebrate.

The sweet and creamy treat has been a staple on the island for more than a century – ever since Harry Murdick opened the first fudge shop in Michigan on Mackinac Island in the late 1880s. Today, Mackinac Island is home to seven different fudge confectioners with several locations of each on the island.

Here are just a few other reasons why Mackinac Island fudge is Pure Michigan:

  • Mackinac Island is home to more than 15 fudge shops within a 3.8 square mile radius.
  • Each summer, visitors flock to the historic Northern Michigan destination and bring back a sweet souvenir – more than 10,000 pounds of fudge leave the island each day during travel season. 
  • Many fudge shops on Mackinac Island have a special ventilation system to waft the smell of freshly made fudge out onto the Main Street sidewalk. Ryba’s was the first to have this system in 1960.
  • Mackinac Island fudge makers ship in about 10-tons of sugar per week and 10 tons of butter per year to make fudge. About 80 percent of the sugar used comes from Michigan.
  • President Gerald Ford visited Mackinac Island in July 1975, and made a personal stop at May’s Candy Shop for fudge.

To get our fans involved with the Fudge Day fun, we’ve teamed up with four shops from around the island – Joann’s Fudge, May’s Candy Shops, Murdick’s Fudge and Ryba’s Fudge – to offer fans on Twitter the chance to win a prize package of fudge every hour between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. this Friday, June 14th. To be eligible to win, fans can simply tweet their favorite flavor of fudge to @PureMichigan on Friday.

Pure Michigan will then choose one winner at random each hour to win a package from one of the shops in the following order:

  • 10:00 a.m. – Joann’s Fudge
  • 11:00 a.m. – May’s Candy Shops
  • 12:00 p.m. – Murdick’s Fudge
  • 1:00 p.m. – Ryba’s Fudge

Winners will be contacted through Twitter with details on obtaining their prize. Tweets must include the hashtag #puremichiganfudge and entrants must follow Pure Michigan on Twitter.*

Additionally, we encourage fans that are on Mackinac Island on Sunday, June 16 to celebrate National Fudge Day by taking a tasty tour around the island to find your favorite shops and flavors. Fudge shops can now also be found in other vacation spots across the state of Michigan, such as Traverse City, Petoskey and Frankenmuth, and fudge fanatics can order their favorite flavor online from shops across the state.

And, don’t forget to return to Mackinac Island in August to celebrate the sweet sensation that is fudge during the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, August 23-24, 2013. 

Are you looking forward to National Fudge Day? Be sure to follow @PureMichigan on Twitter this Friday for your chance to win authentic Mackinac Island fudge!

*Disclaimer: Users can only enter the Twitter contest once and those who make multiple accounts in order to enter more than once will be ineligible to win. Those who post the same tweet repeatedly or violate any of the other Twitter Rules will also be ineligible.

The Original Murdick’s Fudge, Mackinac Island

On a sweet assignment, Kristin Bienert, editor of Michigan Travel Ideas, samples a handful of flavors while learning the art of making fudge at Murdick’s Fudge, the original Mackinac Island fudge shop, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this summer.

The family’s fudge-making business actually began 10 years prior to the official anniversary. Henry and Sara Murdick and their son, Rome, opened a confectionary in Mount Clemens before moving the shop north to Marine City and Petoskey. But making confections isn’t the only reason for relocating to Mackinac Island in 1887. Henry and Rome, who were sail makers, came to the island during the construction of the Grand Hotel to build canvas awnings for the summer resort.

The family opened Murdick’s Candy Kitchen, which survived and the Great Depression and sugar rationing during World Wars I and II. In 1955, Bob Benser Sr. opened an ice cream shop next to Murdick’s Candy Kitchen. Over the years, Bob learned the art of making fudge from the Murdicks and purchased the business in 1969. Today, Bob Jr. and store partner Ron Steensma, who has been making fudge for more than 30 years, oversee day-to-day operations.

In less time than it takes to hear Ron’s story, a three-person team makes a batch of fudge. One person weighs the ingredients—raw chocolate from Germany, sugar from Bay City, and cream and butter—into a copper kettle set over a propane gas burner. The maker constantly stirs with an oak paddle until the sugary mixture reaches a roaring boil, about 16 to 17 minutes. Cook and head fudge maker, Carnel, pours the hot liquid onto one of three original marble tables, which weigh 750 pounds. Light fudges—vanilla, maple, pecan and peanut butter—are made before chocolate fudges because the tables need to be warm for the chocolate to cream out before it can be folded into shape. As the fudge cools, Carnel works his way around the 5-foot-long marble slab, folding the fudge with a flip of his wrist. This is his eighth summer on the island, and he makes it look easy. When the fudge resembles a giant loaf, the cutter steps in and begins slicing. Every batch yields 60 to 63 half-pound slices.

Throughout the day, the team makes between 15–20 batches of fudge, which means purchases are never more than 24 hours old. Choose from 19 flavors, including the newcomer triple espresso. If you can’t decide, select one of the store’s top sellers: double chocolate, chocolate, chocolate turtle and German chocolate. In addition to fudge, the store makes and sells a variety of peanut brittle and popcorn flavors.

Some more interesting facts: In one week of fudge making, Murdick’s uses 200 pounds of butter, 200 gallons of cream and 5,000 pounds of sugar, all delivered by horse-drawn carriage six days a week.

Each box of fudge comes with a plastic knife, which makes sampling when the mood hits (breakfast!) convenient. After trying many flavors, Kristin’s fave is chocolate peanut butter.