Things That Are Better in Britain: Fudge (or Tablet)

It's not the sticky stuff

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By David Hammond


That's what the residents of Mackinac Island call tourists, who cluster, entirely predictably, along the main thoroughfare on the island. Mackinac's central shopping area features a stunning number of fudge stores, sometimes right next to one another, or just across the street from one another. There are six or so major fudge makers on the relatively small island, and some of them have multiple shops…and they seem to all be making the same kind of somewhat creamy, soft fudge, in many flavors. I have to assume that they get lots of business to support this concentration of fudgeries.

Tablet, a traditional English fudge, is not "the sticky stuff," explained its maker, Mrs. Buckett, who was vending them at Chale Show on Isle of Wight.

The "sticky stuff" is what you find on Mackinaw Island, at Navy Pier in Chicago, and pretty much everywhere else in the U.S.

Mrs. Buckett's tablet, which comes in many flavors (we went with Sea Salt, pictured), is pretty much just butter, sugar, cream of tartar and golden syrup. Mrs. Buckett explained her Jewish grandmother used to make this kind of fudge; so did my Italian grandmother.

Mrs. Buckett describes her table as "medium hard," and that's a good descriptor; it offers only slight resistance, and it chunks when you bite into it, crumbling in the mouth rather than coating the teeth.

I much prefer tablet-type fudge to the sticky stuff, which holds no culinary interest for me...and I like sweets. If you want to taste tablet without making the trek to England, however, you're probably going to have to make it at home; I've never seen it for sale in the United States.


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