Balcombe fudge makers Ed Beecroft and Jim Bell
PUBLISHED: 15:13 08 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:13 08 April 2015
Recent graduates Ed Beecroft and Jim Bell make delicious fudge in their family kitchen in Balcombe. Our chef-writer is impressed...
The origin of sweet fudge’s nomenclature is rather interesting. For fudge truly was a fudge – an accident, a mishap, a recipe gone wrong on the road to toffee that arguably gave a superior experience, in equal parts creamy and crumbly. Calorifically American, fudge is a late 1800s discovery from the eastern States.
But what makes a great fudge? It’s one of those seemingly simple concoctions with few ingredients, but timing and elbow grease are the keys to its sensually smooth end. There’s an art to it, but luckily it’s a discipline that the two chaps from Totally Fudged! have mastered. Literally a cottage industry, Jim and Ed are inseparable mates that have no concept of work-life balance. From their home they produce, package and post cellophane bundles of sinful sugary seductions. When we met, Jim regaled me with mad tales of pre-dawn fudge prep followed by a near round-the-clock finish with the final ribboning and labelling. There is a certain grip that takes hold when you are giving birth to a new business, and these lads are in the honeymoon stage of a very exciting endeavour (they went live last August). Business is booming - they have selectively hit shows, festivals and exhibitions with exuberance, sidestepping the oft slow road of rainy day farmers’ markets.
And I have to say that I’m impressed with their intelligent approach and confident drive towards a modern venture and superior product. Starting off with three bedrock flavours - Sea Salted Caramel, Madagascan Vanilla and Double Chocolate, Jim and Ed’s message is simple, to create and supply “great tasting, natural fudge with a difference”. No stabilisers, E-numbers or flavour enhancers here. The salted caramel is on trend and all the rage, classic vanilla always pleases and the double chocolate has just the right balance of chocolate and fudge. When speaking with Jim, I get the feeling that this journey is more than just flogging a few trays of great fudge. It’s “an experiment, a challenge”; a chance for two young people with boundless energy to push themselves and their creative and business ideas as far as possible. To fudge, then. There’s much more than meets the mouth!
Jim and Ed’s guide to great fudge:
• “Use only the best and most natural ingredients you can afford. No need for preservatives or enhancements.”
• “Keep it simple stupid! Master the basics before going mad on flavour combinations. Set the bedrock first.”
• “Constantly taste and don’t be precious about subjective opinions. Let friends and family give their thoughts, little tweaks in your recipes are all part of the road to perfection.”
• “Save all those trims and ‘fudge dust’. Freeze them down to use them as ice cream or cake toppings.”
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