A food once forbidden owes its popularity to some naughty Hudson Valley women.

On CBS Sunday Morning, correspondent Faith Salie uncovered the story of some Poughkeepsie rulebreakers that changed the food world forever.

The Hudson Valley has recently been featured in some high-profile news programs. Unfortunately, whenever a local town shows up on the news it's usually for something not so great. For example, earlier this month the Hudson Valley was the focus of a two-hour episode of 20/20 that detailed the tragic murder of Christopher Grover at the hands of his girlfriend, Nicole Addimando.

So when I heard Poughkeepsie being mentioned during this weekend's edition of CBS Sunday Morning, my ears pricked up waiting to find out the scandal about to unfold.

It turns out that the story was highlighting a scandal of sorts, but one that has a very sweet ending. The segment was taking a look at the history of a delicious valentine's day treat and how it actually began in the late 1800s right here in the Hudson Valley.

Sara Orne Jewett
Getty Images

Salie started her story in Northern Michigan where she visited a town known as the fudge-making capital of the world. Mackinac Island has over a dozen fudge shops that not only sell but make their own fudge in open kitchens, inviting visitors to watch the labor-intensive process.

It turns out that although Mackinac Island is the epicenter of fudge making, the process actually became popular right here in Poughkeepsie.


The segment went on to talk about how fudge most likely began by mistake. The earliest recipe dates back to 1888. Someone in Baltimore wrote down instructions on how to make fudge and sent it to a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. That's where the fudge craze officially began.

Rebellious students would stay up late at night in their dorms and rig the gas lanterns as makeshift burners so they could whip up batches of fudge against the wishes of school officials. These naughty students at the all-female college inspired other young women to make illicit fudge at other schools, starting a sensation that put fudge on the culinary map.

You can watch the full segment above.

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