The story of The Fudge House actually begins in Southern Italy, in a small village in the foothills of the Abruzzo mountains, where Francesco and Filomena Margiotta lived. Like many Italians from that region, they decided to travel to Scotland to seek new opportunities. They settled in Edinburgh and eventually succeeded in setting up a cafe on the Royal Mile. They had five children, including Armando and Dominic. In the austerity following WW2, Armando and Dominic decided to to offer a little joy in people’s lives by making and selling fudge.
Combining sugar rations from family and friends, Armando started making fudge in another shop, just a little further along the Royal Mile. Armando’s passion for food, and people’s desire for sweet treats as sugar rationing was finally eased, meant that his business was soon booming. Dominic then joined the business and travelled throughout Scotland in order to promote their fudge to upmarket hotels and department stores. Their boxes of fudge, particularly their Cherry Brandy Cocktail flavour, soon became a firm favourite throughout the nation and was later featured in Vogue magazine.
Armando was a chef as well as a fudge-maker, and his career soon took a new direction as Scotland’s first TV chef. Taking a step back from the fudge making, he passed the business over to Dominic, who now made and sold the fudge, with his wife Beatrice. Together, they ran The Fudge House as a cafe, restaurant and shop. Drawing inspiration from their Italian heritage and Edinburgh home, they sold Italian cuisine, alongside fudge and traditional Scottish tablet. Dominic and Beatrice had one child, a daughter named Erena, who was born in 1954. She grew up helping in The Fudge House where she learnt the secrets of making our celebrated fudge.
A new generation, a new direction
In 1976, a chance encounter through a family friend led Erena to meet Raymond Di Sotto, a top ice-cream maker from London. It was love at first sight and the two were married in 1977. Raymond moved from London to Edinburgh and started working at The Fudge House. It wasn’t long before Dominic and Beatrice decided to pass responsibility for the business over to Raymond and Erena. Both had a passion for precision and details and, combining Erena’s fudge-making skill and Raymond’s experience in making gelato, they soon took the business in a new direction.
As Raymond learned how to make the fudge, he then furthered his skills by seeking out the advice and training of other confectioners, as well as pursuing a course in chocolate making. Together, they used his newly acquired knowledge and techniques to develop recipes and flavours, including our signature fudge Highland Cream. As well as refining the recipe, they also decided to change the way the fudge was displayed. From Raymond’s experience growing up making and selling ice-cream, he knew that a huge part of appealing to customers was through a mouth-watering display.
Raymond and Erena therefore decided to step away from selling fudge in the Fudge House’s famous pre-packed boxes. Taking inspiration from the beautiful gelatarias of Italy, as well as the amazing displays of chocolate shops in Belgium, where Raymond also had family, they invested in a large glass cabinet so customers could select their own choice of fudge from the display before them.
Fudge House brothers
Raymond and Erena had three sons, Giancarlo, Paolo and Ottavio. They all grew up helping in The Fudge House and, in 2007, Giancarlo and Paolo took over the business. It was then that they made the big decision to stop running The Fudge House as a shop and cafe, and focus entirely on making and selling their award-winning fudge. They believe that their fudge is something special and so chose to concentrate on developing their recipes and flavours further. And they’ve never regretted that decision. After refurbishing the shop in 2008, again drawing inspiration from their European heritage in their large glass display cabinet and brass accents, they were back up and running. Since then, they’ve introduced lots of new flavours, developed other fudge-related products and started an online shop, which means that their fudge can be enjoyed across the world.
They’ve recently given their premises and packaging another re-vamp, as they seek to build on their heritage and history whilst also taking the shop in some exciting new directions. As well as continuing to make their artisanal bars of fudge, created with the finest ingredients, they’re looking to redefine what fudge is and how it can be enjoyed with new flavours and fudge-based products that perfectly compliment their original bars. They’re also collaborating with other local food and drink businesses to create perfect fudge-pairings, such as tea and coffee in their own signature blends. With over 70 years of knowledge and experience passed down through their family, combined with their passion and vision, they’re really excited to see what the future holds, and look forward to passing on their skills to their own children.