Once upon a time, over three decades ago… our handmade fudge began its life on the kitchen table of a small 16th century Mid Devon thatched cottage in the West Country. Peter and Lindsey Riley, the founders of Roly’s Fudge, began with the vision to live off the land, initially selling the produce from their cottage garden in farmer markets.
It was a hard way to earn a living. To cheer themselves up, Lindsey found an old recipe book of her grandma’s so she could make their family and friends some fudge.
The plate was very soon empty and their friends were asking for more – and Peter and Lindsey realised they had stumbled across a good idea. In those days, factory fudge was plentiful, but who was making real handmade fudge, just like they knew from their own childhood?
But how would Peter and Lindsey convert a 150-year-old recipe into a business?
With some haggling, a large copper cauldron was obtained from an antique shop in Honiton. Their kitchen marble slab was cleaned and sterilised and, using their traditional recipe, the first batch of Roly’s vanilla fudge was produced.
Although it was a time-consuming method that required dedication, it produced a delicious and unique Devon taste.
At this time in 1987, truly handmade fudge was starting to disappear from the market, with factory processed confectionery becoming the trend. Peter and Lindsey were determined not to let this disappear – they wanted to bring ‘real fudge’ to the high street. And this continues to be true to this day.
Much as we get fan letters sent to the ‘Roly’s Fudge Factory’, there is no factory! What customers see in each Roly’s Fudge shop is exactly how it is. Each and every single piece of our fudge is made using traditional methods, in copper pans – just like fudge was made generations ago.
The founders of Roly’s Fudge spent several weeks in their kitchen on product testing in order to hone the recipe and make it truly outstanding. Finally, it was time to bring their fudge to the high street – to Torquay, Devon, home to the first Roly’s Fudge Pantry.
It was a gamble to open a shop dedicated only to handmade fudge! The shop was fitted out with traditional gas stoves and their antique copper pan. The shop windows were whitened so no-one could see in. On the day of opening, they made a small peep hole, to reveal people queuing down the road waiting for the doors to open.
The doors were opened, and people flooded in! Lindsey worked all day and Peter worked through the night to keep up with the demand. They specialised in five flavours: Vanilla Clotted Cream, Chocolate, Butterscotch, Rum ‘n’ Raisin, and Maple & Walnut. They were all made with authentic ingredients, no artificial flavourings or additives. Real walnuts and 100% maple syrup was used in the Maple & Walnut Fudge; dark rum and juicy raisin in the Rum ‘n’ Raisin flavour. To this day, our Assorted boxes of fudge still contain these ‘Roly’s Five Favourites’, all made in the same traditional way.