National Penuche Fudge Day
annually on July 22nd
From the Italian panucci, penuche is made with brown sugar, milk, butter, and a dash of vanilla, and is celebrated today with National Penuche Fudge Day. It is similar to fudge but differs from it in that most fudge is made with white sugar, not brown sugar. Maple syrup is sometimes added to penuche, but the brown sugar in it already tends to bring out notes of maple syrup and butterscotch. Brown sugar is its signature ingredient, and when the sugar is caramelized it gives penuche its flavor as well as its tannish color. Nuts like pecans or walnuts are sometimes added to penuche to enhance its texture.
Prominent in New England, where it likely originated, penuche is also eaten in the South, where it is sometimes called brown sugar fudge candy. There's an oft-repeated story that says its name came from Mark Penuche, who reputedly played for the Boston Bruins in 1924, and who loved maple syrup. While this may be true, it cannot be substantiated, and no Mark Penuche can be found on the Bruins' 1924–1925 season roster. But what really matters is not how penuche got its name, but that penuche is eaten today, and this is done with gusto, because it's National Penuche Fudge Day!
How to Observe National Penuche Fudge Day
Celebrate by making and eating some penuche!