Roly’s English Fudge owner/maker Marybeth Munroe is guaranteeing that there will be no meltdowns associated with her planned military operation this week — at least as far as the product is concerned. On Saturday, the Kennebunkport shop will take orders of its melt-proof fudge to be shipped to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan or elsewhere on the planet as part of a Sweets for the Troops care-package blitz.

 

Q: How did the campaign to send fudge to soldiers begin?

A: I’ve shipped fudge to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan before, both for myself, families and customers, as a way to say, “Thank you for what you’re doing,” or to let them know we’re thinking of them. So I decided to do that on a larger scale (before the holidays).

 

Q: How long does it usually take to ship something to the Middle East?

A: Seven to 10 days now, but four to five weeks as the holidays approach. You need to send it by the end of October for it to get there by the beginning of December.

 

Q: Why fudge?

A: This fudge is unique in that it doesn’t melt in the heat. There is no refrigeration needed. And it has a shelf life of six to 10 weeks.

 

Q: Will this be a one-women operation or will you have help?

A: We’ll have Soldiers’ Angels, (a nonprofit volunteer organization that supports military personnel, veterans and their families with a variety of services) and active military personnel here taking orders and talking with people about what they do. I think that will help (reinforce) what we are trying to do here. I have a crew of friends who will help me package the fudge for shipping. And, another shop down here, named Best of Everything, is donating American flag pins as a token of thanks for those who come in to place an order for the troops.

 

Q: How much fudge do you anticipate sending to the troops?

A: My goal is to send at least 50 to 75 packages, but I can handle up to 100 or more.

 

Q: How long have you been in the fudge-making business?

A: One year. The original owner asked me if I’d like to take it over when she opened a Roly’s fudge shop in Portsmouth, N.H.

 

Q: Is it a franchise?

A: No. Roly’s English Fudge is based on a business in England called Roly’s Fudge Pantry. We bought the rights to use their name and their original recipes. It’s an old-fashioned fudge with a crumbly texture, like your grandmother would make.

 

Q: How many flavors are available each day?

A: Between eight and 12. We always offer the traditional recipes, like Roly’s original, which is like a penuche, and Cadbury chocolate, with or without walnuts. We use true Cadbury chocolate that is imported from England. You can tell the difference; it’s a richer taste. Other flavors include peanut butter, lemon meringue pie, Bailey’s Irish cream and one called Dark and Stormy, which is made with black seal rum and Chinese ginger. And I have added my own flavors (to the line) based on customer recommendations or as the mood strikes me. The flavors change seasonally, too. It’s fall, so now I’m making pumpkin fudge. And at Christmastime I make chocolate-orange.

 

Q: How large are the batches?

A: Between 22 and 24 pounds each.

 

Q: How long does it take to make them?

A: About six hours. I cook it for two hours, it cools for two hours and then I pour it on a large marble stone to work it for about 40 minutes. I use two metal tools that look like large putty knives, to turn it. As the fudge cools, you can see changes in the consistency, color and sheen. I do that in the front of the shop so people can watch. It’s a fascinating process.

 

Q: Do you make other confections?

A: Yes. Cadbury chocolate clusters with blueberries, cranberries or pomegranite in them. Today I’m making New Orleans-style pralines. I sell those at the shop and I do specialty orders — like party favors for corporate functions, weddings or other celebrations. I also make the little complimentary fudges that local inns put on their guests’ pillows.

 

Q: What else does the shop offer?

A: I have invited local artisans to sell their goods here — things like homemade jams and jellies, salad dressings, bread dipping oil and artwork that hangs on the wall. We also sell gelato from the Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick, which tastes phenomenal. We feature six flavors daily in the case and keep about 25 flavors of it in cold storage out back.

 

Q: What would you like people to know about the Sweets for Troops event?

A: We’ll be taking orders at the shop from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for those who want to send a package to a loved one serving in the military. The Soldiers’ Angels volunteers will have a list of soldiers who could use some encouragement, individuals who may not get care packages from family at home. They can even include a little note to send with their gift. People can either come down to the store, go online or drop me an e-mail to make an order. And we always have samples available for them to try.