Buttermilk: meet the makers of this award-winning fudge

Tracy McDonnell Goad and David Goad at their fudge factory in Bodmin
Tracy McDonnell Goad and David Goad at their fudge factory in Bodmin Credit: Harry Lawlor

Of all the things one might ask a fudge producer (Is it the same as making it when you were a child? Do you spend all day eating it? May I have some?), the question of what it is like to be a married couple running a business together does not seem the most relevant.

But that is the one Tracy McDonnell Goad has encountered most often since she and her husband, David, abandoned London life to run a fudge shop in Cornwall.

In a further twist, the fudge shop previously belonged to her in-laws. ‘Initially, I rather held back,’ Tracy says. But tactful diffidence soon gave way to hands-on involvement – ‘and now we both love it’.

Credit: Harry Lawlor


The original Buttermilk shop, in Padstow, had been owned by two old ladies, Elsie and Betty, who had been making and selling fudge since the 1960s. David’s parents bought it in the 1990s and decided to sell in 2010.

Tracy and David, then living in London but wanting to move to Cornwall, bought the business from them. ‘We came here four years ago in April,’ Tracy says. ‘Our first child arrived in November.’

Since then they have been producing award-winning fudge, honeycomb, brittle, chocolate clusters and tablet from the Padstow shop and two others, in Boscastle and Port Isaac, the latter of which now plays a starring role in the ITV drama Doc Martin. But this year they sold their London property and bought a factory site in Bodmin to expand the operation.

Credit: Harry Lawlor

They now have the capacity to make up to two tons of fudge a day, in copper pans over flames, from locally sourced ingredients. David is in charge of production; Tracy runs the retail and marketing side. Their four-year-old son is an enthusiastic tester. ‘David was always making fudge when he was small,’ Tracy says. ‘He has an engineering background and knows all about the chemistry of melting sugar. I was more interested in running…’

As in chocolate, trends in fudge come and go. Among Buttermilk’s 70 flavours, clotted cream and caramel sea salt are enduring bestsellers; chilli chocolate and marzipan made brief appearances.

December saw the launch of Christmas-pudding and mulled-wine flavours, alongside gift boxes and a snack range of fudge fingers (from £1.99).

So what is it like to be a married couple running a business together? ‘We get on very well,’ Tracy says, ‘but we have one rule: once supper is served, we stop talking about fudge.’


Great home-made fudge recipes

Chocolate fudge with whisky sugar and sea salt

Credit: Haarala Hamilton
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Credit: Tara Fishers