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Did someone say free Hot Chocolate Tasting?

Posted on November 25, 2013 11:34 AM by Meghan

Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, we know how to kick off the holiday season.  You will find no Black Friday craziness here.   In fact, our stores might be the best place to escape all the holiday frenzy.

On Saturday, November 30, from 12-4pm our Pine Street store will be sampling four (yes, four!) different flavors of our delicious hot chocolate.  It’s become something of a tradition on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday in a civilized and soul-southing way!  Who doesn’t need a little soul-southing this time of year?

We’ll be offering Traditional, Peppermint, Spicy Aztec and Old World for your tasting pleasure.  Come by with your friends and enjoy a sip or two!  Trust us; you’ll be happy you did.  


 


Gobble Up Delicious Deals!

Posted on November 14, 2013 10:51 AM by Amy Lipsitz

Our three retail stores are having sweet deals on all kinds of gourmet chocolate treats including chocolate turkeys, caramels and truffles. It’s the perfect time to stock up on holiday gifts, stocking stuffers and more!

LCC Retail Stores

750 Pine Street
Burlington, VT
Monday-Saturday 9-6pm
Sunday 11-5pm
802-864-1807

65 Church Street
Burlington, VT
Monday-Thursday 10-8pm
Friday-Saturday 10-9pm
Sunday 11-6pm
802-862-5185

Route 100 – Cabot Annex
Waterbury, VT
Monday-Sunday 9-6pm
802-241-4150


Last year, craft cider was making a name for itself in Vermont. We picked up a bottle of Citizen Cider Unified Press and after a few sips found ourselves wondering how we could incorporate that delicious apple flavor into our caramels. The answer was to boil down apple pressings from Happy Valley Orchard, where Citizen Cider get their apples, and create our own apple syrup. We blended this delicious syrup with our slow-cooked caramel and added a splash of cider then coated it all in 34% milk chocolate. That is how this wonderful partnership began and these caramels came to life.

With one bite you'll be reminded of a chocoalte caramel covered apple, only better! These Apple Cider Caramels are available in our three retail stores and online now. 

Because our apple syrup is only produced two times a year these caramels are in limited supply and high demand. Don’t miss your chance to taste a unique Vermont chocolate!


Move over Martha Stewart. 

Emily McCracken, Lake Champlain Chocolates’ resident artist and chocolate sculptress extraordinaire, will be sharing her talents next Saturday November 16 at 2pm at our Factory Store and Café located at 750 Pine Street.

Emily will show you how to make handcrafted chocolate treats like these pilgrim hats using simple household items.  This is your chance to learn how to dress up your Thanksgiving table and really impress your guests!

This event is free and no registration is required.  We recommend you arrive early as seating is limited.  Sit back and watch how you can expand your dessert repertoire, sculpt with chocolate and create delicious and distinctive Thanksgiving-themed chocolates.

See you there!


Fair Trade First Hand

Posted on October 18, 2013 8:44 AM by Amy Lipsitz

Our Director of Sales, Allyson Myers, travelled to the Dominican Republic with Fair Trade USA this week for the World Cocoa Foundation meeting. On her trip she attended a Fair Trade Farm Tour and saw firsthand how fair trade dollars impact cocoa communities.  

Does Fair Trade really make an impact in the lives of farmers?

YES!  Before I saw the results of Fair Trade efforts firsthand in the Dominican Republic, I wasn’t sure how much (or little) impact fair trade really had. The Fair Trade price premiums are paid to the farmer cooperative, not to the individual farmers. Then the cooperative board solicits proposals from the coop farmers (10,000 of them in total!) and considers different ways to spend the fair trade premiums at year end.  The value of the fair trade premiums for a year is $1-2 million annually for the Conocado Coop, which has a huge impact on the community. 

I visited a school in near the Conocado Coop that previously didn’t have adequate space for 300 students and the roof leaked when it rained.  With Fair Trade premium dollars, the community was able to build additional classrooms and reinvest in their community by educating the youth.

I also visited a Mulit-Use Community Center and Computer Center that were built with Fair Trade premium dollars.  The computer center gives children a place to learn and use technology.  Classes are held in the mornings and afternoons, with different children attending each session. The building also included a central multi-purpose room where the coop and community members come together for meetings and functions.

Cocoa growing regions are far from Vermont. What do Vermont & the DR have in common?

Both VT and the DR have strong agriculture roots and communities.  Encouraging young people to stay in farming is a challenge; the pay is low and the work is hard.  The Agriculture Ministry of the DR is working hard to make cocoa farming an attractive livelihood and encourage youth to get into farming.  We seesimilar efforts here in our state, trying to retain young people after graduation. Both Vermont and the DR have strong dairy industries and just as many of

Vermont’s dairy farms are organized into coops so are many of the DR’s cocoa farms.

Does Fair Trade do enough to transform the challenges facing our industry?

No, while Fair Trade makes an impactful difference with price premiums and fair labor practices, there is still much more work to be done in order to alleviate poverty.   I visited with a farm family at their home and asked them, “How much more income would you need in order to make farming attractive to your children, rather than them choosing other occupations in the cities?”  They told me that they would need about double the current income they receive. Food insecurity, education, fair wages, and fair labor practices all must be addressed.   Erradicating poverty is a slow process and Fair Trade demonstrates that measurable results are possible.

Fair Trade dollars are making huge impacts in cocoa communities and beyond but there is still work to be done! Spread the word about fair trade via #befair and prove how fair you are here: http://befair.org/


Chocotoberfest

Posted on October 17, 2013 2:31 PM by Meghan

October is the time of year we come together to share the harvest, carve some pumpkins and celebrate CHOCOLATE

Join us for Chocotoberfest— four wonderful days of special chocolate events from October 24-27.  Enjoy sweet deals on chocolate caramels, truffles, and hot chocolate.

And there’s more….on Saturday, October 26 from 12-4pm at 750 Pine Street, join us for a free Fair Trade hot chocolate tasting to celebrate Fair Trade month.  We’ll have a flight of four hot chocolates- Organic, Mocha, Spicy Aztec and Chai- delicious hot chocolate you can feel good about drinking. 

LCC is proud to carry the Fair Trade Certified label on our full line of hot chocolates.  Stop by one of our three retail stores- Church St and Pine St in Burlington and Route 100 in Waterbury- to learn about our Fair Trade products and how they improve the lives of farming families in cocoa growing regions.

Don’t miss one of the sweetest events of the fall!


Recipes You Can Feel Good About

Posted on October 3, 2013 11:59 AM by Amy Lipsitz

October is Fair Trade month! Fair Trade Month aims to raise awareness of why fair trade is important, and promote buying and using socially and commercially sustainable, fair trade products. Our selection of Fair Trade Chocolate products is not only great for snacking and drinking but baking and drizzling, too! Here are a few ways we like to use our Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa and our Organic Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Bar. 

 

 

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

 

Called the “Ultimate Chocolate Cake” for good reason, this cake is an explosion of chocolate delight! Made with our Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa, you can feel good about eating it knowing the ingredients and farmers were treated with care…now that’s having your cake and eating it too!

Mocha Buttercream Frosting

For coffee-lovers there is no better combination than mocha buttercream frosting slathered on a piece of the Ultimate Chocolate Cake. Use Fair Trade coffee for a double dose of goodness!

 

Chocolate Fondue

Melt down our Fair Trade Dark Chocolate with other delicious ingredients and start dipping! Our favorites are strawberries, homemade marshmallows and pound cake.  

 

Hot Fudge Sauce

Take your dessert to the next level by drizzling this rich, decadent hot fudge sauce, made with our Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa, all over it!

 

The fun doesn’t stop here; check out more delicious fair trade recipes, and be sure to celebrate Fair Trade with us all month long on Twitter via #befair!


Happy International Chocolate Day!

Posted on September 13, 2013 9:35 AM by Amy Lipsitz

September 13 is International Chocolate Day, and the perfect time to share some highlights and stories from our cocoa-growing communities.  

Blue Bandana Guatemala Bar 70%
Eric, Blue Bandana’s sole chocolate maker, has worked closely with the FundaLachua organization in northwestern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala over the past 2 years to support quality improvements and organic practices in the indigenous Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. Visits to the farms, as well as field training, enhanced producer skills and elevated the quality of the harvest.  The progress was significant enough that FundaLachua made its first export on June 25, 2013! A direct trade agreement exported 6MT of Lachua cacao to Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker in Vermont. It will be another rewarding part of the journey for Eric to roast these beans and hand deliver chocolate bars to the producers during his next trip in the spring of 2014.


Blue Bandana Madagascar Bar 70%  and Blue Bandana Madagascar Wild Pepper Bar 70%
Eric has sourced Madagascar beans looking for high quality post-harvest processing, unique flavor characteristics, and sustainable growing practices.  In this quest, Eric developed a friendship with a Madagascar cocoa supplier, Bertil Akesson, who produces some of the world’s highest quality, fine flavor cocoa using organic practices.


Through this friendship, Eric discovered Bertil is a source for the wild voatsiperifery peppercorns that grow on the northeastern coast of Madagascar. Only the young shoots at the very top produce fruits (“voa”), which are handpicked by villagers from the east coast of the island.  It seemed only natural to blend this Madagascar 70% dark chocolate with a wild pepper harvested on the very same island.  A 2013 Good Food Awards Finalist, the Madagascar Wild Pepper bar remains a favorite among those with an appetite for exploration.

Peruvian Dark Chocolate Bar  and  Cherries & Chocolate Bar
Our Peruvian organic dark chocolate bars are crafted from single-origin cocoa grown in the remote Apurimac Valley, a region now experiencing a cocoa-farming renaissance.   Collaboration and farm support has improved the cocoa tradition in this farming area, increasing yield and quality.  Direct buyer partnerships and price premiums keep small growers safe from market risk, allowing them to focus on what they do best — producing some of the most exquisite cocoa in the world.  This distinctive chocolate is tempting more and more LCC fans to try it every day – we’re excited to see these newly launched bars already achieve ‘best-seller status’!


Happy International Chocolate Day everyone! We hope you take the time to celebrate with some delicious chocolate from around the world.


2013 South End Art Hop

Posted on September 6, 2013 10:44 AM by Amy Lipsitz

It's that time again...the South End Art Hop is here! The Art Hop is a three day event that attracts over 30,000 visitors to the Pine Street Corridor of Burlington. Visitors hop around artist’s studios and local businesses that house galleries and exhibition sites for more than 500 participating artists. The event celebrates the unique characteristics of the neighborhood and we couldn’t be more excited to participate!

 

We will be open until 9pm on Friday night dishing up a few surprises on the observation desk of our 750 Pine St. location. On Saturday from 2-4pm, join Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker, Eric, Lampman, for ‘Stories and Snapshots from a Cacao Hunter.’ He will share stories from his travels to Guatemala and display the art of making chocolate from bean to bar.

Hop in Friday night for some edible art, and for a great taste of Blue Bandana on Saturday!


Shelburne Museum opened the doors of the highly anticipated Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education this past weekend. Over 6,000 Vermonters and visitors came from near and far to view the building and see the new space which will featured loaned works and touring exhibitions year-round.

A grand opening party is not complete without chocolate! Lake Champlain Chocolate's own, Kirk Weed was asked to build a chocolate replica of the Center, and he pulled out all the stops to bring the intricate details of this matsterpiece to life!

Here's a recap of the process from Kirk himself:

"I began by viewing the sketches of the original building concepts and then headed down to the building to take pictures. I focuesd on the various architectural details that make this building unique; angles, lines of site and textures. Next, I began thinking about how these characteristics could be represented though chocolate, as it's not as strong as most building materials!

I poured the chocolate into frames to form the walls and cut the chocolate  to size as it was hardening. The frames were lined with acetate to achieve the glossy surface and various decorative techniques were used to represent the different surfaces.

After the walls were formed and hardened, I glued them in place by piping chocolate like caulking. The windows were formed by cooking sugar to a high temperature and pouring it out to form sheets. These sheets were then cut much like stained glass and bent using heat.

The two roofs were formed like the walls into frames that required extra care to build because they were so large. Chocolate naturally warps as it hardens so it required special attention during cooling to keep the roofs and walls flat.

The building sits on sloped ground so that it is two stories in the back and one story in the front. The finished sculpture was surrounded with a chocolate retaining wall which held chocolate covered hazelnuts that duplicated the effect of the ground which rises from the back to the front of the building."

The attention to detail was incredible...bravo, Kirk! To view more pictures of the builidng process check out our Facebook album.