The mouthwatering aroma of chocolate wafts along Mackinac Island’s Main Street, luring customers into Ryba’s Fudge Shop. The scent is only part of the appeal though; it’s equally enthralling to watch the candymakers creating huge hunks of sweet goodness on old-fashioned marble tables.
Murdick's made island history as the first fudge maker in 1887, but historians say Ryba’s gets credit for turning fudge into a must-buy treat for island visitors. An aggressive marketer and long-time showman, Harry Ryba's first move after opening his fudge shop in 1960 was to install a ventilation system that blew the smell of freshly made fudge out onto the sidewalks in front of the store. Next, he made sure to position his employees in the front windows so that passersby could watch the fudge-making show. Harry’s wife, Ethel, is responsible for the bright pink decorating motif.
The smell is delicious, but so is the taste. This is old-fashioned creamy fudge at its best in an array of flavors including peanut butter, German chocolate, pumpkin, turtle, Oreo and vanilla pecan. (A 1 1/2-pound three-slice box will set you back $22.45.)