The History of Nut & Fudge's Caramel Apples
How Our Family's Confectionery Businesses Have Evolved Over the Past 40 Years
At Bruce County Nut and Fudge, we are known for our delectable caramel apples, but have you ever wondered how this delicious treat came to be? Those who have visited our booth at one of our many craft shows will know our family history well. But for newer customers who joined the family after we pivoted to exclusively online sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to us that you understand the love and history that goes into every caramel apple we create.
The History of Caramel Apples
Before we get into our story, let's take a step back and look at how this delicious treat came to be in the first place.
While candy apples dipped in a hard, red-hued, sugary coating were invented in 1908, the first-ever caramel apple was created much later in the 1950s. It was made by a Kraft Foods employee named Dan Walker, who was experimenting with creating a healthier alternative to the traditional caramel chew candies. Walker melted down some caramels leftover from Halloween and dipped apples into the mixture, and the rest is history.
By 1960, the treat surged in popularity – so much so that Chicago candy shop worker Vito Raimondi created the world's first-ever caramel apple dipping machine.
By the 1970s, our family would go on to create our own caramel apples. However, these apples were hand-dipped instead of machine-dipped.
Our Family's History with Caramel Apples
Our parents started their confectionery business over 45 years ago. They would do local fairs and consumer shows, predominantly in Ontario, but would also travel across Canada. In fact, this year marks the 47th year of our parents participating in the Calgary Stampede.
It was at these shows and outdoor events that our parents created their own, homemade classic caramel apple using wholesome ingredients.
We love the fact that our parents created such great handmade products before ‘handmade’ was even a thing. Years later, this delicious apple continues to inspire our own creations.
How Bruce County Nut and Fudge Came to Be
All three sisters – Melissa, Yvonne, and Tanya – started Bruce County Nut & Fudge more than 15 years ago. The three of us were all traveling separately, and one summer, returned home all at the same time. We always knew that our parents had a fantastic confectionery company with classic nostalgic sweet treats. Melissa, who is a trained pastry chef, loved the idea of expanding on the classic treats our parents had made by hand for so many years. On a layover in Toronto, we started brainstorming on the idea, and a few days later, Bruce County Nut and Fudge Co. was born.
Inspired by our love of our parents and their classic treats, we added a modern twist by developing several new and exciting caramel apple flavours, including, but not limited to:
- Cinful (caramel and rolled in our signature cinnamon sugar glaze)
- Fleur de Sel
- Peanut Butter Buster
- and more
Following in our parents' footsteps, we travelled to various fairs, markets, and events across the country, such as The One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto and The Calgary Stampede, where we developed a loyal following. We also have our own storefront in Sauble Beach ON, where you can find us during the summer months.
Where We Are at Today
We take pride in the fact that our recipe has not changed in over 45 years. To this day, we continue to use the exact same premium ingredients that our parents used decades ago, such as cream and butter. Every single apple is also hand-dipped and decorated by our own hands in a real kitchen with traditional copper pots and marble slabs.
One thing that has changed since our early beginnings is our lineup of flavours. Over the past 15 years, we have gone from 8 flavours, to now having over 18 flavours at any given time (some of these flavours are only offered seasonally).
Some of our newer offerings include:
- Key Lime Pie
- Lemon Meringue
- Milk and Cookies
- Skor Almond Crunch
Most recently, we ran a "Create your own apple" contest, which far exceeded our expectations. We received so many entries and were overwhelmed with all of the creative and yummy suggestions.
In fact, we couldn't decide on just one winner and ended up choosing three – the Salted Caramel Fluffer Nutter, the Pretzel Party, and the German Chocolate Delight.
We still cannot believe how many customers loved our caramel apples so much that they wanted to help us create new ones!
What the Future Holds
We absolutely love what we do – always have, always will. We are so thankful every day that we have built such a loyal following at all our craft shows across Canada over the years. However, when these shows were cancelled in 2020, we were honestly worried about what the future held for us for the first time in years.
Growing up watching our parents travel and participate in shows as little girls really gave us the steppingstone to market and establish our own company the same way. When all that was taken away in 2020, we were at a loss. If it wasn’t for our core followers reaching out and supporting us, we wouldn’t have been able to make it through.
We are now happy to say that we are working hard at making our website and online sales as successful as our shows were. However, we still miss the face-to-face engagement at all of our shows. There is nothing like being able to tell someone your story and explain how each caramel apple is dipped and decorated by us.
Until we can safely resume our shows, we are grateful to be able to use our online platform to share our story with our new and existing customers.