Imagine two different scenarios. In the first scenario, it’s Christmas time.
You are sat around a big log fire, watching its flames whip and the logs crackle, you look outside and see the snow gently float down – or if you are in my area, the rain spray violently – and out of the corner of your eye you see grandma walk past the tree and hand you something to nibble on before dinner.
In the second, the sun beats down, but the gentle breeze keeps it at bay, as you explore the pier. The ride’s metallic sheen glistens as parents talk and children scream.
The arcade, the railings, the mystic hut, all are packed on this beautiful summer day, and as you glance around a kindly old couple behind a sweet cart wave you down.
As you approach, they pass you a sweet treat, which you happily thank them for and gobble down.
Now, neither of these scenarios have happened to me or indeed many other people, but I bet if I asked you in which scenario were you given chocolate and in which scenario were you given fudge, you could tell me instantly.
We have in our minds an entrenched view of where and when these foods most appear, and we know this, if I was to ask what the difference was between them though, you might find it a little more difficult.
Today, we seek to get to the bottom of that issue and find out what’s the difference between fudge and chocolate?
The first thing to mention about the differences between fudge and chocolate is the texture. The reason it comes first is that you can actually see the difference in texture before you even put it in your mouth.
First, fudge is soft, creamy, and dense, and it becomes gooey when it enters the warmth of your mouth and this is thanks to the way fudge is made.
Fudge is a mixture of sugar, butter and milk that is heated to the soft ball stage of candy production.
This is when the mixture is heated to 234 and 237 °F/ 112 and 114 °C and the gentle heat slowly cooks and combines the mixture into a fudge that can then be separated from hard caramel and cooled.
Since the sugar concentration is only about 85%, this fudge does not harden and the fats stop the sugars crystallizing completely, leaving it gooey, soft, and at a consistency between syrup and caramel candy.
On the other hand, chocolate is hard, smooth, and solid, and while it does melt, it is often eaten in its hard form.
Chocolate uses cocoa butter as one of its primary ingredients, and the butter fat crystals in cocoa butter harden in a rigid structure at a narrower temperature range.
It doesn’t take much to melt butter, but it also doesn’t take much to harden butter either.
The process of making chocolate is very long and involves several processes, but the tempering and shaping processes are how the chocolate gets its texture.
Depending on the crystals in the chocolate mixture, there are six different temperatures the chocolate can be heated at to temper it, ranging from 63°F/ 17°C to 97°F/ 36°C .
This creates different textures of chocolate, with the lowest temperature creating a softer, crumbly chocolate and the highest creating a super hard and snappable chocolate.
Flavors are also an important distinction between fudge and chocolate, and that is for one very important reason: fudge is not a flavor, but chocolate is.
So, fudge is just a sugar candy, on its own it tastes like a combination of butter and sugar, a fantastic combination of those two things, but still sugar and butter nonetheless.
Chocolate is chocolate flavored, it gets its taste from the cocoa bean which has its own unique flavor, with only other products of the cocoa bean having a similar flavor, like cocoa liquor or cocoa powder.
However, the processes and additional ingredients that go into chocolate mean that you can always identify chocolate as chocolate just by the taste.
However, that does not mean you should underestimate fudge as its lack of a unique flavor makes it much more versatile.
The texture of fudge is clearly fudge and that texture is wonderful and unique and when you add flavor to your fudge, it makes it so much better.
You can add literally anything that could be considered for a sweet: caramel, vanilla, matcha, mint, orange, and so on. The most popular flavor of fudge is even chocolate flavor, and it sells like no tomorrow.
We have already discussed ingredients a little in the previous paragraphs, but it is important to go over them in full detail.
Fudge is made of a mixture of milk, sugar, butter, and any flavorings you choose to add. The milk often used is condensed milk because it is milk with the water removed, and the water can hamper the process of cooking sugar.
Chocolate is made with milk, sugar, cocoa butter, and cocoa, this brings not only a different flavor to chocolate but a different chemical structure that needs to be addressed.
Cocoa butter has a higher melting point than butter, with butter beginning to melt at 69°F/ 21°C and cocoa butter beginning to melt at 93°F/ 34°C .
This means that the process for making chocolate must be different to accommodate the higher melting point of the cocoa butter.
Not only that, but cocoa butter’s butter fat crystals are much more rigid than normal butter, setting themselves in a certain shape until their melting point, whereas butter’s butter fat crystals are more malleable and as such can be soft and spreadable unless it is very cold.
The differences between chocolate and fudge, even at a glance, are clear to everyone, but explaining them is tricky.
However, with this article by your side, you should never have to worry about explaining or not knowing about the differences between fudge and chocolate ever again. If you want whether fudge is classifies as a sweet or chocolate read this Is Fudge a Sweet or Chocolate? .