See that picture above? That’s not fudge. Some people might say it is, but it isn’t.
It’s too squidgy, and real fudge should change texture as you chew it, not stay sort of…gummy…all the way through.
That’s one of the key things I like about going back to Devon, where I grew up. The food.
Last time we were down we paid a visit to Totnes, where you can find pretty much everything you ought to eat on a visit to the West Country. Fudge. Pasties. Scones. Chocolate fudge. The food of my home county is as much a part of growing up there as a walk on Dartmoor or a visit to Trago Mills.
Devon’s a lovely big county that’s changing fast. The well-connected south has seen an explosion in population in the last twenty years, with mixed results. The roads are often unbearably busy, and there are just too many houses being built in some bits. What that does mean, though, is that there is a market strong enough to support loads of top-notch cafes and small- to medium-sized food producers.
Some had been doing it well for years before. We used to have a shop called the Pasty Mine in my village, from whose sash window I’d pick up four pasties every Saturday on my bike – top crimped, in the proper Devon style. They were amazing.
The land of plenty
My Dad had some relatives that ran a small country pub near to where they currently live. He remembers going down there after WWII, deep in the grip of rationing, when Devon was literally a land of milk and honey as farmers shared around full-fat milk, cream, butter and eggs, when all he’d had growing up in Birmingham was powdered egg.
Fudge we used to get from a bloke in Exeter, who sold it in ingots and sliced it up before putting it into a paper bag. Alongside a half-dozen eclectic flavourings was always the superb Clotted Cream variety, the true queen of fudges. Cream is a bit of thing in Devon. My favourite ice-cream shop used to serve you scoops of clotted cream ice-cream in a cone with a scoop of clotted cream on top of that.
I remember reading something once about how cooking and sharing food was an unequivocally positive thing – of all the things people do, it always connects us. We show people we care by making food. We get everybody together over food. Even reminiscing about it brings people together!
What foods are unique to where you come from? Or if you no longer live in the same place, what do you miss most/ get your relatives to send out to you? Let us know at the usual addresses!