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It’s National Fudge Day! Where did Mackinac Island’s fudge originate?

I'm sure he's a big "Somewhere In Time" fan.....Don Jefferson Archives
Don Jefferson Archives

I’ve been to Mackinac Island several times and I’ve had my fair share of fudge there. And in Petoskey. And in Charlevoix. And in…well, you get the idea. But I guess I never wondered who came up with the recipe. I just thought it was one of those things that people had made for hundreds of years. Apparently not. Here, on National Fudge Day, every Michigander should be able to tell the “Birth of Michigan Fudge” story (courtesy of Murdick’s – the original fudge shop on Mackinac Island):

“In 1886 a letter was found, written by Emelyn Bettersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar college in Poughkeepsie, New York, referring to fudge that her cousin had made, in Baltimore Maryland, selling it for 40 cents per pound.  Hartridge was able to obtain the recipe and in 1888, she made 30 pounds of fudge for the Vassar College Senior Auction.  

In the late 19th century, some shops on Mackinac Island, Michigan, began to produce similar products as the Vassar College fudge and sold it to summer vacationers.”

So, this is why you sometimes see reference online to the “Vassar College” recipe for fudge. Even though it was the poor (and un-named) cousin from Baltimore who came up with the recipe.

Happy fudging. Couple of beers at the Pink Pony and a trip down the street for some Mackinac Island fudge? Now THAT’S some Pure Michigan.


Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.

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