June 2009: Made in Atlanta


Text: Some beloved fathers may have become familiar with Atlanta-based Carvel’s “Fudgie the Whale” ice cream cake after being culinarily honored as a “Whale of a Dad” (Fudgie’s typical Father’s Day inscription). Others may recognize his familiar shape, which, when rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, also acts as the mold for holiday cakes such as Santa Claus. Fudgie—who has served as Carvel’s signature cake for more than thirty years (and costs around $18.99)—is made with a layer of the company’s vanilla ice cream, one of chocolate ice cream, and another of chocolate “crunchies” (Oreo-like cookie crumbs), then topped with chilled milk fudge, trimmed with white whip, and adorned with crunchies on the sides. ¶ In 1934, Athanassios Karvelas (later known as Tom Carvel, an anglicized name he took after moving to America from Greece) created Carve—the country’s first retail ice cream company—in Hartsdale, New York, out of the back of his broken-down ice cream truck. In 2002, Carvel’s headquarters moved to Atlanta; two years later, it joined companies such as Seattle’s Best Coffee and Cinnabon at Focus Brands and now operates more than 500 stores worldwide. ¶ No one really knows the origin of Fudgie or how the idea of him came to the now-deceased Tom Carvel, but he has a whale of a following today. After Fudgie was declared Carvel’s “spokeswhale” in 2007, his popularity was cemented through a “Fudgie Fanatics” website that showcases company promotions, and to date, Fudgie has 1,078 friends on MySpace. That’s right: A chocolate whale has more pals than you do. —Shonitria Anthony