Papa Dave's Fudge Blog

December 08, 2014


Apple Pie Fudge

Offering an Apple Fudge may seem like an obvious choice for us. I mean, we are known as The Apple Store, and we do specialize in Apple Gifts along with our homemade fudge. So why not offer it? The truth is, I have tried an apple fudge in the past, and just wasn't happy with it. If I'm going to call it Papa Dave's Fudge, then it better be delicious!

Today, I tried making it again with a few changes. Taking inspiration from my popular Pumpkin Pie Fudge, I thought it would be great to try an Apple Pie Fudge. I decided to be truly like apple pie, real apples would need to be included. Fresh apples won't work it fudge, so I looked to dried. Dried fruit can be too chewy, though, and I didn't want that texture to be a distraction from the fudge. I knew I needed to try to soften and plump the dried apple pieces. Of course, any liquid can be used for this purpose, but to enhance the apple flavor, I soaked them in apple cider. We happen to live right across the river from one of the best cider places I know: Orondo Cider Works. They say their cider is so good, because they use clear water, sunshine and the best apple varieties to produce cider packed with flavor. I can't argue with that! I let the dried apple pieces sit in warm cider (165 degrees) for 15 minutes, and they were just the right texture to add to the fudge.

Once I mixed the apples in with Papa Dave's signature vanilla fudge, and a dash of cinnamon the aroma told me I was on to something. We tried it this morning, and everyone loved it. In fact, it's only been on the shelf for a few hours, and we've already sold through 6 lbs! I'd say I found the right flavor combination!

Of course, anything apple could always be made better with a drizzle of caramel, so that may be coming soon, too! With caramel or without, Papa Dave's Apple Pie Fudge is here to stay!


November 17, 2014


Who is Papa Dave?

Papa Dave with Thomas and Conner

We consistently hear our customers sing the praises of Papa Dave’s fudge. And we get asked alot, "what's the secret?" The truth is, the "secret" isn't so secret at all...

Who is Papa Dave?

Papa Dave is Culinary Apple’s resident Fudge Master, a position he's held for last 14 years. In that time, he's made over 43,000 pounds of fudge. Turns out, if you make a few tons of fudge, you get pretty good at it.

So what's the secret?

Papa Dave: First of all, we use high quality ingredients — I won’t sacrifice taste just to save a couple dollars on a batch of fudge. I use real cream and real butter in every batch of fudge. The real secret, though, is constant stirring, which gives the fudge its creaminess. It’s important to incorporate the sugar fully, otherwise you end up with gritty or grainy fudge, and that is not what people are looking for.

What's Dave's favorite fudge? 

Papa Dave: My favorite has always been Maple Walnut. I like the flavor combination, and the nuts add great texture and crunch. I know my wife Mary likes the Zebra fudge the best.

What is Zebra Fudge?

Papa Dave: Zebra fudge is a unique fudge flavor I developed as something of a happy accident. Our Chewy Praline Fudge is a layer of caramel and pecan sandwiched between two layers of vanilla fudge. And our Caramel Chocolate Nut is caramel and peanuts between two layers of dark chocolate. Well, I accidentally added a top layer of dark chocolate to what was supposed to be Chewy Praline. When we went to cut it, we found my mistake. We decided to sell it, and people loved it! We’ve been making it ever since. That is one fudge we cannot keep on the shelf long. 

What's your most popular flavor? 

Papa Dave: Chocolate Walnut is our top seller by far. I think people just love traditional fudge. I’ve come to realize that most people have a memory of a special loved one who always made fudge for the holidays, and it was usually chocolate walnut. I think tasting our Chocolate Walnut fudge helps to bring back those special memories.

Why do people call you "Papa Dave?"

Papa Dave: Well, when I started making fudge, my first grandson was about two. I was so proud to be a new Papa that it seemed like the right name to give the fudge. My second grandson was born just one year later, and the name stuck. Now, my oldest grandson has come to work with his Grammy and me at the store during his summer vacations. 

October 24, 2014

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Making the Move - Dave's Perspective

Mary has been telling her side of the story of our move from Seattle, and life in Corporate America, to Lake Chelan and life on our own terms. I thought I’d tell you about it from my perspective!

In 1978 we had an opportunity to move from California to Seattle, Washington. It was a great move for my career in the transportation industry. But as far as the weather is concerned it became apparent that we needed to get use to gray and wet! One day a friend of mine said if you are looking for sun and fun you need to visit North Central Washington. That’s where all our wonderful apples are grown. After some research we discovered Lake Chelan a resort community, and that became our family vacation place to go!

Lake Chelan is: 

  • 55 miles long and its average width is 1 mile
  • It is 1,486 feet at its deepest point
  • It is the third deepest lake in the United States
  • It ranks in the top five for cleanest lake
  • A resort community for over 100 years

1995 was a big year for us! Our children became adults and moved out! I was reading a Money Magazine article about baby boomers cashing out of corporate America and moving to places like White Fish Montana. The checklist seemed pretty simple:

  1. Cash out
  2. Move to small town America
  3. Buy a small business
  4. Be your own boss
  5. Be happy!

Mary, my wife of 46 years now, had been in the wholesale gift industry for 14 year and was looking to make a change. After 30 years in the trucking industry, I was becoming unhappy and the idea of a change was becoming more and more appealing. After sharing this article with Mary, we decided that a change in life style was just what we needed, and we haven’t looked back since!

September 19, 2014

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The Secret to Papa's Lake Fudge

Fourteen years and 44,000 pounds of fudge making later I have decided to write a blog about it!

Hi, I’m Dave Weldy, Fudge Master for Culinary Apple - a store for kitchen necessities and gifts in Lake Chelan, WA. Many people visit our town while on vacation, and for many of them Culinary Apple is a mandatory stop for our famous, homemade fudge. My grandkids named it Papa’s Fudge, but because our store is located right up the street from Lake Chelan, we call our fudge “Papa’s Lake Fudge!”

Why is our fudge so yummy? The secret is real cream and butter. The creamy texture we’re known for requires a lot of mixing. Thankfully, our fudge pot helps with that! The mixing machine pictured here does 18 and 36 pound batches at a time.

We make various seasonal fudges, and with autumn approaching it’s time for pumpkin pie fudge. We will start off making 18 pounds; 12 pounds will have walnuts just to give it that extra crunch and great taste of walnuts. As Christmas approaches, you’ll have to try the Candy Cane Fudge. It’s delicious!

If you’re in Chelan, stop in our store for a free taste. One bite and we know you’ll be hooked. If you’re not in the area, but want to try the best homemade fudge around, check out all the varieties we make.