What inspired you to start your business?: After many years working the the Medical Field it was necessary to change jobs. I wanted to do something that would allow me time to spend with my family and six grandchildren. So with the encouragement from my kids Iva Jean's Fudge was born. We hit the ground running in October 2015. Everything fell into place so I know we had a hand with help from my Mother above. Her name was Iva Jean. She had been my inspiration from day one. She taught my sisters and I how to make Fudge at a very young age. We would help her stir and in return she would let us scrape the pan. That was a pretty good trade off. So we learned from the best, sharing her family recipe that was handed down for generations. She made the classic flavors Chocolate and Peanut Butter. I have had fun developing 20 new flavors. Some are seasonal and some are year round favorites like the Brown Sugar Bourbon, Apple Pie and Honey Lemon Ginger.
What sets your fudge apart from the rest? What is your favorite part of the process?: Flavor Development and Sample testing are my favorite parts. I love it when someone samples a flavor and gets that look of OMG! That is all it takes!!nMy Fudge is smooth and creamy when kept airtight. I don't like a gritty consistency. It is sweet but not overkill.
"I try to use as many local & organic ingredients as possible which gives the best quality."
What are some of your most popular flavors? What says Christmas more than Fudge! This Holiday the best sellers were Peppermint Bark and Brown Sugar Bourbon. For Winter and Fall I offer a few seasonal flavors like Salted Pecan Pumpkin, S'mores, Apple Pie. Spring and summer brings lighter fruity flavors like Banana Pudding, Lemon, Coconut. My personal favorite is Cappuccino, the perks of my job is that I get to try it warm and it's amazing!!
What is your most underrated flavor?: I think it would have to be the Chocolate Chili Bacon. It is a dark chocolate fudge spiced up with chili pepper, just enough to give it a kick and topped off with brown sugar glazed crispy bacon. When you hear the name of a few of my Fudge flavors it makes you think, but as soon as you taste it it changes your mind. It is a goal of mine to bring favorite desserts to Fudge Form. The latest is Carrot Cake, made with dried carrots, walnuts, cinnamon and a touch of orange zest, and it tastes just like the cake.
Can you buy bulk for events, parties, etc.? How long ahead do your customers need to order? I have had the pleasure of doing a few custom flavors to be used as wedding favors for a special couple. If someone requests a custom flavor, I try my best to satisfy them and would ask for a few weeks to perfect it. I have also done Fudge Push Pops for kids Birthdays, they are always a big hit.
List some of the places where Charlotteans can purchase Iva Jean Fudge. I live in Waxhaw so the Waxhaw Provisions store on Main Street has many flavors that you can purchase packaged or by the pound. You can also find it at Paper Skyscraper on East Blvd. I keep the list up to date on our website HERE. Markets that you can find us and shops in the area.
What is your favorite part of owning your own business : It gives me freedom to be active with my grandchildren, ages from 14 to 2. I have 2 grandsons and 4 granddaughters to teach the business, in hopes they will join me in the kitchen some day. I love to be creative and this has been a joy!
Anything else you would like the QC to know about you?: I love it when people find me! They make a point to tell me they follow Iva Jean's Fudge on social media and track me down at an event. I only advertise on Social Media and word of mouth so when that happens I get a thrill.