TRAVERSE CITY — The warm smell of bubbling sugar, vanilla and cream flooded Doug Murdick’s Fudge as Dave Murdick poured the latest batch on a marble-topped table.
It’s the same smell that filled the business 50 years ago when his father Doug Murdick opened the downtown store.
Same smells, same ingredients, same fudge.
“This one will stick to it for sure; he will not change ingredients,” Debbie Murdick said and gestured to her brother as he “slabbed” a batch of fudge and turned it with a paddle while it cooled. “They are what they are, and that’s what we use. He will not change ingredients.”
Dave knows his fudge and cares about its quality.
“We don’t cut any corners,” he said. “We use fresh black cherries, 100 percent pure maple syrup.”
Dave made the year’s first batches of vanilla chocolate chip and rocky road fudge — a sure sign of summer — on April 30. They’re the flavors Murdick’s only makes when the stores are busy with tourists window shopping on Front Street or driving in and out of town past the Acme store. It’s time to welcome another busy season.
Some things have changed since Debbie first stepped behind the counter as a sales clerk at 14. The store keeps up sales in the winter through online orders, customers seem to have more allergies and health conscious shoppers ask for dark chocolate fudge.
“They don’t understand fudge isn’t made with milk or dark chocolate,” Debbie said. “It’s made with baking chocolate.”
Downtown Traverse City has changed, too. The downtown store now outsells the Acme location thanks to events that bring tourists downtown all year.
Most customers, affectionately called “fudgies,” stay the same. They come year after year, order boxes of fudge and like to stand outside the window to watch cooks work.