‘Fudge is simply sugar, butter, milk - and a bit of magic.’ Ashford Voice interviews The Fudge Man
Ashford’s Farmers’ Market is a food-lover's paradise. The quaint cobbled high street is flanked with home grown stallholders selling a range of delicious delights for customers to try and buy. Tantalise your taste buds with fragrant world cuisine, or pick up hearty pies, cakes and fresh fruit and vegetables from local traders.
The Fudge Man, run by artisan confectioner, Steve Timms, is one of Ashford Farmers’ Market’s regular and very popular traders. And it’s easy to see why. His huge array of enticing flavours, including traditional creamy vanilla, spicy Christmas pudding and exotic toasted coconut, are enough to tempt any passer-by.
Award-winning fudge maker, Steve, has been making and selling his fudge for many years. But he hasn’t always been in the confectionary business. Steve gave up his job in the film industry chauffeuring stars such as Julia Roberts, Robin Williams and Ewan McGregor, to pursue his dream of becoming a confectioner.
Ashford Voice caught up with Steve to find out more about the man behind the fudge.
So Steve, what first got you into fudge making?
"For many years I worked in London before moving down to Kent and finding a new career. My first business was called Coco Diablo where I sold handmade luxury truffles online and at local farmers' markets. At the time, making fudge was just a side line.
"However, I soon discovered that my fudge was getting increasingly popular so I decided to set up The Fudge Man."
Out of all the sweet treats, why choose fudge?
"I love fudge, and the reason I started making it is because I simply couldn’t find any good quality, old fashioned fudge like I remembered eating when I was a child.
"I think people appreciate that it is handmade, traditional fudge with no 21st century technology. No colourings, flavourings, additives, nothing like that. Proper, homemade fudge is simply sugar, butter and milk - and a bit of magic…!"
It must be quite relaxing and therapeutic to make fudge?
"Making fudge is not stressful, although you have to concentrate on each batch. I have to keep my eye on the sugar thermometer and keep stirring the mixture to get the best result - I don't get every batch right!"
In a few words, what’s eating proper, homemade fudge from your childhood like?
"Creamy, smooth and melt in the mouth."
Compared to other markets, what is it about Ashford’s Farmers’ market you particularly like?
"It's a well-run, old fashioned street market with a warm and friendly atmosphere and there’s a large variety of quality local produce available."
You’ve recently appeared on James Martin’s Home Comforts on the BBC. What was that like?
"The crew came to my home and filmed how I make my fudge. It was good fun and the film crew put me at ease and made the whole thing enjoyable. It was a great opportunity, one that I am pleased to have taken part in."