If you tell a Michigander you're heading to Mackinac Island, chances are they'll plead, "Oh, please, bring me back some fudge." Mackinac Island's website has a fudge shop section. There's an upcoming fudge festival. It's all about the fudge.
In part, that's why Slate assigned fudge as Michigan's official dessert, if we ever had one. Slate's reasoning? Mackinac Island.
Anyone with milk, butter, sugar, and chocolate can make fudge. But the residents of Mackinac Island, Michigan have taken fudge to another level, building an entire tourist industry around it and claiming to have “perfected” it. Michiganders aren’t the only ones who think this: In the history and recipe book Oh Fudge! A Celebration of America’s Favorite Candy, author Lee Edwards Benning calls Mackinac Island both “the fudge capital of the United States” and “the fudge capital of the world.” And when “the fudge king of Mackinac Island” died in 1996, he got an obituary in the New York Times, the ultimate endorsement of the importance of one’s life’s work.
In case you wondered who reigned as Mackinac Island's fudge king, that Times obit on the man himself, Harry Ryba, is available here. Ryba, according to the Times, sold more than 150,000 pounds of fudge through his fudge shop chain annually. A wise one, this Ryba fellow, he eventually "installed fans to waft the aroma onto the street to capture the tourists," the Times wrote.