Sometimes when I buy prepared food I feel guilty, because I know I could make the same thing at home either cheaper, healthier or tastier. Other times I know the food in question is best prepared by the experts and I don’t have to feel lazy when I buy it. Fudge certainly falls into the second category. People who are better home cooks than I am have worked very hard to make fudge successfully. The recent fudge experiments by Lorraine and Y really demonstrate how difficult fudge making can be. Lorraine made three batches before she was satisfied, and Y made seven! I cheated and went to the Fudge Shop in the Harbourside complex at Darling Harbour.
The Fudge Shop makes heaps of different flavours of fudge. All of them are gluten free with the exception of the Rocky Road and Cookies and Cream flavours. I’m always drawn to the chocolate based flavours, but it’s a matter of taste. Alloronan put in an order for us to bring her a slice of the Caramel fudge which is her favourite. If fudge isn’t your thing there’s peanut brittle, fairy floss and toffee apples. It’s the fudge that brings me back though. It has a beautiful texture which is just hard enough to hold together but very soft and melty inside. Apparently if you keep it for too long it will get harder. I have no personal experience of this though because I don’t have the self-control to keep my fudge for longer than a few days.
The most exciting part about visiting the Fudge Shop is that you can see the fudge being made. There are two enormous marble benches used to cool the hot fudge and shape it into logs.
First of all the fudge is spread out thinly to cool.
Then it is shaped into a log.
The decorations tell you which flavour is which. We saw the Chocolate Jaffa fudge being made.
When it has cooled the fudge is sliced into squares which you buy by weight. It’s around $4 per slice. I wouldn’t eat a whole slice in one sitting. This time our party shared one between the three of us.
Once we’d had our fill of fudge we were able to go and see what had brought us to Darling Harbour – the dugongs. Sydney Aquarium has two orphaned dugongs from Queensland on display at the moment. They’re great animals to watch with their cute faces. They swim with their tails much like a dolphin does, but they breath through their noses rather than a having a hole in their heads.
One of the best things about seeing the dugongs is that they eat almost continuously so you can get a really good view. Their mouths seemed like big vacuum cleaners.
Apparently they eat about 80 kg of lettuce between them each day. The staff clean each leaf and put it in a weighted tray which sinks to the bottom of the tank. In the wild they would eat seagrass, but lettuce has a similar nutritional value.
We also saw one of the dugongs sleeping. It could only lie down for about three minutes at a time before it had to come up for a breath. It didn’t seem very restful at all!
We spent ages taking photos and videos of the dugong, so we were glad we’d had our fudge snack before we went in. Hopefully we burned off some of the kilojoules pressing our shutters.