A new George Street confectioners is proving a hit with tourists and
By Steven Short
Guy Bart-Smith only opened Roly’s Fudge Shop on George Street during the May Bank Holiday, but his relationship with one of Britain’s favourite sweets goes back a long way. “My great aunt taught me how to make fudge when I was about 10,” remembers Dumfries-born Guy. “I used to escape to her house on a Saturday, and when it was raining and there’d be nothing to do, she’d give me £5 to go to the shops and buy some ingredients. Then we’d make scorched tablet together, which is very similar to the vanilla clotted cream fudge I make now.” An entrepreneur even at that tender age, Guy would sell his wares at school the following week.
Guy, owner of Roly’s Fudge
Zig-Zag career path
Guy studied engineering at university before going on to do a marketing degree and then a Masters in Social Work, but when he came across Roly’s Fudge shop in Brighton, he remembered “making it as a child and began joining the dots to see how I could make a living from making it.” Guy joined Roly’s in 2013, opening a store in Lincoln. The original Roly’s was set up in the West Country in 1987 and today Roly’s operates as a franchise, offering a unique business model which lets individuals manage and run their own fudge pantries. However, each shop adheres to the company’s ethos of making fudge the artisanal way. “You have to use the best ingredients,” says Guy, “the best sugar, the best butter. Everything we use is natural and gluten free.” Roly’s Fudge is also free of artificial colourings, flavourings, additives, emulsifiers and palm oil.
Visit at the right time and you might catch Guy hard at work making his latest batches, including spreading the warm liquid fudge out on a slab of marble in the shop’s window. “It’s retail theatre,” he says, “but it’s also how you have to make fudge – the marble helps distribute the temperature better and then helps it chill. We want people to see the whole production process and to see that we work in a clean, safe environment.”
Visit at the right time and you might catch Guy hard at work making his latest batches
Some of the fudges that Guy produces contain nuts, but ingredients and allergens are clearly marked on a chart, so you know exactly what you are buying. Flavours currently available in George Street include Maple & Walnut, Honeycomb, Sea Salt and Baileys. “I have to taste them all,” says Guy, “it’s a hard life!”
Keep the Customer Satisfied
George Street’s Roly’s has been busy since the day it opened, “Bank holiday weekend was just mad, and then we had Father’s Day…” But it’s not just tourists who want a piece of the sweet seaside staple. “Local people have been really supportive and enthusiastic,” says Guy. So much so that the shop operates a loyalty card scheme – shop five times (a minimum weight applies) and enjoy your sixth batch free. The fudge costs £2.50 per 100g and “you can mix flavours like a pick and mix” or there’s also a selection of bagged and boxed fudges to choose from.
• Find Roly’s Fudge at 55 George Street, TN34 3EE. www.rolysfudge.co.uk
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