Fudge has been synonymous with Mackinac Island for nearly 150 years. Today, it seems as though you can’t take five steps down Main Street without coming across one (or more!) of Mackinac Island’s many fudge shops.
World-famous Mackinac Island fudge has become an iconic symbol, and many “fudgies” flock to the Fudge Capital of the World to taste the sweet, creamy goodness.
Here’s a little secret for your next visit to Mackinac Island: You can have some fudge for free!
No, not an entire slice. But you can get free samples in any Mackinac Island fudge shop. That means you can try chocolate peanut butter and butter pecan and maple walnut and sea salt caramel and vanilla and cherry and butterscotch and so many more flavors including classic chocolate.
Just pop into one of Mackinac Island’s many fudge shops and ask for a bite. As for how to make the most of your fudge-sampling experience, here are four tips:
4 Tips for Sampling Mackinac Island Fudge
- Some fudge shops on Mackinac Island select a few flavors each day for visitors to sample. For example, the fudge clerks in Ryba’s Fudge Shops often will set out their own personal favorites to share. The samples are pre-cut and sitting on or behind the counter for you to try. In other shops, feel free to ask for a sample of whichever flavors catch your eye.
- There’s a lot more than just chocolate fudge. Mackinac Island fudge shops make literally dozens of flavors. You can even find vegan chocolate! The flavors often change over the course of the season. In the fall, for example, you can find pumpkin spice fudge. And for an online order of Mackinac Island fudge for the holidays, you might find some chocolate peppermint fudge.
- With so many flavors to try, it can be hard to pick a favorite without spoiling your appetite for the all the other great food and drink on Mackinac Island. So, here’s some advice from Ryba’s Fudge Shops manager Eden Callewaert for narrowing down your options: “The trick is to first decide on chocolate or no chocolate,” she says. “The second decision is nuts or no nuts. This is a good place to start in finding your new favorite sweet treat!”
- Don’t be afraid to ask the people working at the counter for recommendations. “We love sharing our favorites and helping guests find their favorites, in hopes of turning them into life-long ‘fudgies,’” Callewaert said.
It was Callewaert’s great-grandfather, Harry Ryba, who coined the term “fudgie.” When he opened a shop on Mackinac Island in the 1960s, Ryba sold fudge in eye-catching pink boxes and bags and started giving customers “fudgie” pins to wear.
Even before Mackinac Island visitors were known as “fudgies,” people would come to the popular travel destination to see fudge-making in action. It was another Mackinac Island fudge pioneer, Rome Murdick, who started making a public spectacle of fudge-making.
Still today, it’s alluring to step inside a Mackinac Island fudge shop or watch through the front window and see the handcrafted process. Come and be mesmerized by the sight of boiling fudge poured onto a cool marble slab and worked by fudge craftsmen with paddles into solid loafs of creamy, decadent Mackinac Island fudge for you to taste and savor!