Grand Rivers Fudge Factory in Evansville
Aimee Blume, Courier & Press Published April 4, 2017
(Photo: Aimee Blume/Special to the Courier & Press)
For those with a sweet tooth, nothing beats a square of rich, silky, old-fashioned homemade fudge.
You can get your fill from local fudge-maker Becky Reynolds, who owns Grand Rivers Fudge Factory. The shop itself is located in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, at the northern entrance to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, but the owners, Becky and Jack Reynolds, live in Evansville, and the products are available at both Thyme in the Kitchen and the Milk and Sugar Scoop Shoppe on Franklin Street.
The couple spends a lot of time in Grand Rivers and decided years ago to open a store there to take advantage of the resort atmosphere and crowds of campers and nature-seekers in the summer.
Find 25 flavors of fudge at Grand Rivers Fudge factory, and a few special varieties here in Evansville at Thyme in the Kitchen and The Milk and Sugar Scoop Shoppe, both on Franklin. (Photo: Aimee Blume/Special to the Courier & Press)
“I have lived in Evansville my whole life,” said Becky Reynolds, as she worked her arm muscles stirring a big, thick batch of butter pecan fudge in her shop. “I was a special education teacher for more than 40 years. My husband Jack’s parents live in Grand Rivers, and we would come down to visit every weekend. And we got the idea that we would like to open our own business here. So we opened a kayak business, but about five years into that I decided I wanted to have a fun business of my own.”
Reynolds considered opening a bookstore, newsstand or bakery. But her aunt Marian Hatton had a deft hand at making fudge, and what could be more fun than that?
Reynolds makes fudge the old-fashioned way her aunt Marian taught her, watching for just the right gloss and texture before pouring the fudge to set up in pans. (Photo: Aimee Blume/Special to the Courier & Press)
“I wanted to offer something that everybody enjoys,” she said. “My aunt Marian had this equipment I use here, and she taught me her way of making fudge, and a few secrets on how to make fudge with the right gloss and consistency. She also taught me not to skimp on the good quality ingredients.”
Reynolds makes about 30 pounds of fudge at a time using a large steam jacketed kettle to mix and cook ingredients.
“You have got to watch the consistency of the fudge,” she said, using a large flexible spatula to stir and lift the shiny, slightly sticky melted fudge, letting it ribbon off back into the kettle. “It should be tacky to the touch, that’s when it’s best, but you have to be careful. I watch the gloss to know that I have enough liquid in it.”
After the fudge was just right, she poured it off into a large measuring cup with a spout and gently stirred in color and flavoring extracts, then added a large handful of pecan halves. When mixed, she poured it slowly into a parchment-lined pan to set up and finished it with another big handful of pecans, which she distributed evenly and pushed gently under the surface of the fudge. The pan would sit overnight to firm, then be hand-cut, wrapped and labeled the following day.
“The recipes vary for each flavor of fudge,” she said. “The kids come in and count to make sure I have that many. I’m the only one who makes it. My aunt and I worked together for a few years, but she passed away a few years ago.”
Reynolds offers 25 flavors of fudge, from the very popular chocolate and peanut butter varieties to rocky road, butterscotch, lemon and more unusual versions such as orange dream and bubble gum.
Some of the best selling are the moonshine fudge, enhanced with real moonshine distilled at The Moonshine Company in Paducah, Kentucky.
“We add the moonshine after we complete the fudge, we don’t add it while it cooks,” said Reynolds. “We have a coffee version, and pecan, and a chocolate cherry that has dried cherries in it. You feel the moonshine more than you actually taste it.”
A sample proved this to be true. The moonshine fudge actually felt cool on the tongue and melted faster, with an ethereal breath of vapor on the aftertaste that alerted the taster to the presence of alcohol without tasting in the least like whiskey.
Reynolds enjoys spending her weekends in Grand Rivers and especially likes to see repeat customers stop in year after year when their families come to stay at the lakes.
“I tell you one of the funnest things is we get to see kids growing up,” she said. “They come once a year and say ‘remember me? I was here last year!’ I started taking pictures of people who come to shop, so now I have a book, and when they come back they can look to find their pictures from years past. I really enjoy the customers and engaging with people.”
DEAR FUDGE FACTORY IN GRAND RIVERS, KY.
September 23, 2014 by Joi Sigers
There are many, many, many reasons to love Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Grand Rivers Variety shows at Badgett Playhouse, Kentucky Lake, Patti’s, Green Turtle Bay Resort & Marina, Lake Barkley, Lighthouse Landing, friendly people, and on and on. But I think the most delicious reason to love Grand Rivers (the “Village Between the Lakes”) is The Fudge Factory. This tiny little candy shop/gift shop is a CAN’T MISS stop each and every time we go to Land Between the Lakes or Kentucky Lake.
Heck, even if we’re headed to Paducah, it’s reason enough to veer off for a quick candy fix.
On a recent trip to the Land Between the Lakes, we stopped by for some of this delicious fudge. Truth be told, we made quite a candy haul, as you can tell by the pictures here.
Raving continues below each picture.
Mind you, this isn’t just any candy, we’re talking about here. We’re talking about creamy, beautiful, and utterly delicious homemade fudge.
My own personal favorite fudge is a tie between Peanut Butter Fudge and Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts. My daughters are BEYOND wild about the Tiger Butter Fudge and Dulce de Leche (both are pictured above)- or any kind with caramel involved. As for the husband, I’m pretty sure his favorite is whichever one’s within reach. Can’t fault him there.
He and I have a system. Not only do we grab enough of our favorites for the trip back home to Owensboro, we grab extra to see us through the week.
Of course, it never makes it through the week – come to think of it, I’m not sure our haul has ever made it through the weekend.
But that’s okay, our car knows the way to Grand Rivers Kentucky and the Grand Rivers Fudge Factory.