The Best Fudge Shops in America
An ode to tourism's sweetest souvenir, we've rounded up the top fudge spots from coast to coast and as far as Alaska.
Candy’s most decadent creation may actually have come about by accident. Story has it that in 19-century Baltimore an attempt to make caramel went awry and gave way to the creamy confection now known as fudge. Since then, this melt-resistant indulgence has become a must-buy memento in vacation destinations from seaside New England clear to the glacial frontier. Here, we embark on a fudge-fueled tour of the US to track the best shops along the way.
Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
Bar Harbor, Maine
Fudge and seafood don’t go hand in hand, but fudge and the sea certainly do. Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium is ideally located for a decadent nibble on your way to the beach or after a whale-watching excursion. But if you absolutely insist on mixing your crustaceans with your confections, try the lobster ice cream.
For over 50 years, Cape Cod’s Kandy Korner has been feeding beachside vacation nostalgia. Literally. Bag a box of homemade fudge, see the century-old taffy machine at work and even get a pressed-penny souvenir. Before you leave, grab ingredients from the shop’s bulk candy jars so you can make gumdrop fudge at home.
Aunt Leah’s Fudge
Nantucket, Rhode Island
Don’t have a fudge-making family member? Let Leah be yours. Aunt Leah’s Fudge serves over 30 flavors in its petite outpost, tucked within a wood-shingled building on Main Street. The shop’s diminutive size is in no way reflective of the company’s candy-cooking confidence. The brand’s motto? “The world’s best fudge.”
Fudge “N” Stuff
Montauk, New York
Every vacation destination needs a go-to candy shop and Montauk’s is Fudge “N” Stuff. You can get other sweets at this no-frills downtown spot, but the store’s priority is in the name. To satisfy a hankering for fudge and “stuff” in your own kitchen, bake an almond fudge cake.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Once fudge became all the rage in the late 1800s, shops sprang up in tourist hotspots like Niagara Falls and Atlantic City. Steel’s Fudge, which opened in 1919, is one such place and it’s still around. As Steel’s is set right on the boardwalk, each buttery bite comes with a complementary sea breeze.
America’s oldest candy store has had plenty of time to perfect its fudge recipe. At Shane Confectionery you’ll find unique flavors, including Lemon Lavender and Hydrox (vanilla with Hydrox cookie), as well as one-of-a-kind decor – the shop’s stained glass, elaborate woodworking and old-fashioned registers will transport you to another era.
Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe
Tucked inside Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, Sweet as Fudge turns the dessert dial to 11 with their chocolate brownie creation: velvety fudge stuffed with a brownie as filling. Boost your own chocolate chops by whipping up triple fudge brownies at home.
Gulf Coast Fudge Co.
North Fort Myers, Florida
The greatest thing since sliced fudge is the crystalline confection in bonbon form. Gulf Coast Fudge Co, which uses a recipe that dates back to the 1800s, serves up a delicious array of these individual nibbles. Bonus: with bonbons, you don’t have to pick just one flavor. Look for locations in Cape Coral and downtown Fort Myers, too.
Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
Seeing how the sausage gets made isn’t nearly as mesmerizing as peeking in on the fudge process. At Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, where the artisanal action happens out in the open, you can get an eyeful as well as a mouthful. And if you’re starting to feel like a fudge loiterer, fear not – Ole Smoky has two Gatlinburg locations.
Kopper Kettle Fudge
Fudge is an all-American creation, but if you’d like to mix your chocolate with a European aesthetic there’s Kopper Kettle Fudge in Helen, a town known for its Bavarian-looking buildings. Another dessert masquerading as an international indulgence is German chocolate cake – the pastry with a flaky pecan frosting was also invented stateside.
Original Murdick’s Fudge
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is known as “America’s Fudge Capital,” which basically makes Murdick’s the confectionery equivalent of the White House. Established in 1887, this is the oldest fudge shop on the island, which means a lot in a destination that hosts an annual fudge festival (it’s in August) and nicknames its visitors “fudgies.”
May’s Candy Shop
Mackinac Island, Michigan
The island that inspires chocolate makers around the world deserves another mention. And while Mackinac has over a dozen fudge spots (the island imports 10 tons of sugar per week), May’s Candy Shop is worthy of a shoutout for its history. Four generations have manned the marble slab here, and the family even had to institute fudge rationing during WWII.
The Fudge Pot
The history here runs deeper than its Old Town location. Founder Tom Dattalo worked at Mars Candy Co (famous for Snickers and its namesake Mars bar) before opening his own shop, along with two partners, in 1963. Today, with four generations in the candy biz, The Fudge Pot continues to keep Windy City sweet teeth fully satiated.
Door County Confectionery
Fish Creek, Wisconsin
Door County Confectionery actually has four locations (the others are in Ephraim, Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay), but we’re giving props to the original location in the charming village of Fish Creek. The only thing sweeter than the setting is the chocolate cherry fudge, which takes advantage of the area’s most prized produce (cherries!).
Original Wisconsin Dells Fudge
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Naturally, one of the Midwest’s most beloved tourist towns knows its way around a drool-inducing vat of sugar, milk and butter. No trip to the Dells is complete without a stop at the Original Wisconsin Dells Fudge shop, where you can delight in creamy confections after a day at the water park.
Nellie’s Sweet Shoppe
The next best thing to living inside a candy store? Having Nellie’s Sweet Shoppe deliver fresh fudge to your doorstep. This Kansas City confectioner offers a fudge-of-the-month subscription with both standby flavors and seasonal spins shipped to you every 30 days or so.
Sweet Prairie Home
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Fudge takes new form at Sweet Prairie Home, where, depending on the holiday, you can get your confections in heart, Christmas tree or Easter bunny-shaped tins. And creativity goes even further when it comes to flavor—eggnog, watermelon and Oklahoma heat wave (chocolate, raspberry and habanero) are just a few of the fudgy offerings here.
Everything is creamier in Texas, thanks to Fredericksburg Fudge. Founder John Honigschmidt, originally from Minnesota, studied candy making under a mentor in Illinois before bringing his expertise to the Lone Star State and opening shop in 1981. Today, John’s made-from-scratch methods continue, making for chocolaty morsels that always pack a punch.
Keystone, South Dakota
A monument to fudge? Ah yes, feast your eyes and appetites on Turtle Town, a decades-old candy shop near Mount Rushmore. Here, bricks of black forest, cherry and peanut butter fudge will make your jaw drop as readily as any rock carving. But if you are set on seeing some presidents, Turtle Town also sells Rushmore renderings in chocolate.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Visit the hometown of a worldwide candy empire with a stop at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in historic downtown Durango. The current shop is just up the block from the first-ever location, but the factory and headquarters are still nearby. The company has perhaps become better known for its gourmet caramel apples, but they’ve got their roots in fudge.
The Brigittine Monastery
Is the secret ingredient faith? That’s the question at The Brigittine Monastery, where an order of artful monks makes fudge by hand. Swing by the tasting room for careful contemplation (should you get amaretto or hazelnut?), then take some to go for a gourmet garnish the next time you mix chocolate martinis.
San Francisco, California
North Beach’s Z. Cioccolato (that’s Italian for chocolate) has found fudgy fame, thanks to its decadent layered creations. The signature flavor here is Peanut Butter Pie, which has seven tiers, including marshmallow, Heath, Oreo and caramel. But the prettiest pick might be the shop’s rainbow Pride Fudge.
The Fudge Factory
Borrego Springs, California
This family-owned operation is called Bighorn Fudge Co. and its shop goes by the name of The Fudge Factory (in case there’s any confusion). But really a pound of rocky road by any other name would taste as sweet. Speaking of which, when you buy a pound in person they’ll throw in another half for free.
The Alaskan Fudge Company
How’s this for a story of fire and ice: each batch of chocolate goodness at The Alaskan Fudge Company is boiled in a copper kettle and eventually placed in a gift box featuring Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier. Create your own collision of hot and cold with this recipe for hot fudge sauce that’s perfect poured over ice cream.