Making tons (yes, literal tons) of fudge a year, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park could easily give Willy Wonka and his mythical Chocolate Factory some sweet competition.
Glenwood Caverns is better known for its adventure rides and cave tours, but the Colorado theme park also happens to churn out mountains of fudge annually. The melt-in-your-mouth confection is the top-selling item at the General Store gift shop where ensconced in a glass display case, it takes center stage.
Each batch is made using only the highest quality ingredients. Technically, it only takes a few of them to make fudge: chocolate, butter, sugar, cream and vanilla, but making fudge is a notoriously persnickety process. Over cook it and it will become grainy, add too much of one ingredient or other and the consistency will be off.
Getting it right though, takes experience and lots of it. Laura VanLue has been making fudge at the Caverns since 2015, when the General Store first began selling it. Since then, VanLue and her crew have made over 6.5 tons of fudgy goodness. That’s more than the vehicle weight limit on some roadways!
During peak season from May through August, VanLue spends up to seven hours a day at least twice per week making 18 pans of flavored fudge. Each pan weighs 6 pounds – that’s 108 pounds of fudge in a day which only keeps the General Store stocked up for one week. Besides being a delicious treat, when asked why she thought the homemade fudge was so popular, VanLue speculated, “It smells good when you walk into the General Store – like sugar. We also give away free samples. After that first taste, most people are goners.”
Keeping fudge lovers happy is just part of the job. Because visitors can’t seem to get enough of it, VanLue and her management team are making it available at other Caverns locations starting this summer. In addition to the General Store, visitors can get their fudge fix at the Lookout Grille and the Trading Post.
Fun Fudge Facts:
- Fudge is an American invention.
- June 16th is National Fudge Day.
- Most people believe the first batch was accidental, resulting from a botched batch of caramels; the mishap led to the expression “Oh Fudge,” signifying a mistake.
- In the 19th Century when fudge was accidentally invented, the word “fudge” was often used to mean “nonsense.”
- “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men,” Willy Wonka from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
- The first commercially sold fudge was in 1886, at a grocery store in Baltimore, Maryland where it retailed for 40¢ per pound.
- Hot fudge is technically not fudge, but a kind of chocolate syrup.
- Fudge does not have to be chocolate-based, though chocolate flavors are the most popular.
So what are the Caverns’ top-selling fudge flavors? Jockeying for first and second place are Peanut Butter Chocolate and Mint Chocolate Swirl, next up are Cookies N’ Cream and Rocky Road. Well, as Mr. Wonka might say that’s “scrumpdidlyumptious!”