I admit it, I’m addicted to tablet, the wonderful Scottish sweet. That is why, about three years ago, I discovered Skye Fudge on a weekend trip to the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland. It is mainly an online shop, but their products are also sold all over the Isle of Skye in different shops as well as elsewhere in the Scottish Highlands. I was hooked on the delicate and slightly crumbly tablet that Carol Inglis, the owner, makes. By that point I had already tasted my way through a lot – hand-made as well as mass-produced. By far, hers remained my favourite. So much so that I even ordered boxes of tablet as favours for our wedding last year. The experience and the service from Carol was fantastic.
Finally, this September, we made it back to Skye. This time, we emailed Carol beforehand and asked if we could get a tour of the Sky Fudge & Chocolate kitchens. She only runs an online shop, so we were excited when she invited us over. I took many photos (which you can find at the end of this blogpost) whilst she showed us around and today I will share the experience with you.
If I hadn’t been jealous enough going down a single track road on a splendid day, the view from Carol’s house over the sea is fantastic! First up, Carol showed us the chocolate kitchen in her house. Yes, think about that. How amazing is it to not only have a second kitchen in your house, but one which is dedicated solely to the task of making chocolate?
In this magical room, Carol and her employees (not an oompa-loompa in sight) were making bars of chocolate as well as a bewildering selection of chocolate pralines. We watched how the chocolate was made and filled into the forms for the bars. They need to be shaken on a piece of wood so that there are no bubbles of air left within the chocolate. Some of the chocolate bars had caramel, sea salt, flower petals or pieces of fruit in them. After the bars are hardened, we watched them being taken out of the form, all fresh and shiny.
After the chocolate bars, we investigated the multi-flavoured pralines and I was able to take many photos of the different flavours which look as good as they taste. They showed us how the pralines are filled with cream and covered in layers of chocolate and sprinkles of awesome. Following some tasting and selecting even more pralines we wanted to take home with us, we moved on to the sweet perfection that is tablet.
The part I was looking forward to most was the heavenly place where tablet is made. For that, Carol uses a workshop in her garden which was converted into a huge tablet kitchen. You want to get one step better than a chocolate kitchen in your house? Get a tablet kitchen!
Along the walls were lined up many baskets full of tablet, some traditional tablet and some flavoured with Talisker, the local single malt whisky, or Drambuie, a liqueur made out of whisky, honey, herbs and spices. Needless to say, I wanted to move in, but then I would probably have a sugar overdose within 24 hours. Tablet is basically made with condensed milk, sugar, butter and a bit of water. You might think when you have a bit of tablet, it might be enough sugar for a day and it probably is, but you won’t be able to stop eating it. Now a disclaimer: tablet can be addictive. Very addictive. Especially when you go ahead and order some of Carol’s online; you’ll be hooked instantly. Don’t come complaining to me, though!
There were huge pots where the tablet was being cooked, bubbling away merrily on the stove. After the tablet has been bubbling long enough, you have to stir it an extreme amount of time, before it gets put in trays to harden. Lining the walls there were shelves full of tablet laid there to cool down. When it has hardened a bit, the cuts are made so it can be broken into small tasty squares once the tablet is ready. Sometimes, unfortunately for anyone’s diet, there are crumbs and leftovers. Even more “unfortunate” is it, if you get to nibble on it whilst you are getting a tour of the kitchens. Needless to say we didn’t leave there under-sugared.
Once the perfect tablet cubes are finished, they are gathered together, packaged up and labeled.
At the end of our tour, we met a lobster and a crab, but that was just an added bonus :) :) .
The luckiest thing for me, because I live a thousand miles away in Austria, is the fact that these delicacies are shipped all over Europe. It would be quite a trek to fly or drive to Skye every time I ran out of tablet. I tried to make it myself and might continue to do so to pass the time until the next box from Skye Fudge arrives. Naturally, it is always filled with tablet AND chocolate.
The online shop consists of a dedicated tablet site and one for the chocolates – though you can order from both for one big shipment (luckily). Just two words to add here… Fudge. Chocolate.
All that’s left for me to do is thank Carol and her team for the tour, the patience in explaining and – above all – making the best tablet EVER! :)