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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.


Planning a trip to Vermont? Looking for a delicious activity in Burlington? Visit us and take in the sights, sounds, aromas and flavors of a chocolate factory! Our factory tour was named one of the top five chocolate tours in the US; set on an observation deck looking over the factory floor visitors get through-the-window views of caramel cascading from copper pots and our famous Five Star Bars being enrobed in dark chocolate.

Did we mention our tours are free? Monday through Friday, on the hour, from 10am-2pm we invite you to join us on a chocolate journey. You’ll learn the history of our family owned company, how we source and make our gourmet chocolates and, of course, will sample some products and be deemed an official LCC taste tester!

Here’s what some recent visitors are saying about their tour experience:

“This tour was both a culinary and educational success. As a teacher, I appreciated all the tools you employed; oral, visual, audio, tasting, film. As a cook I appreciated the food aspect; health, enjoyment. As a concerned citizen I liked hearing about fair trade and your local commitment. “ -George, NY

“The education on chocolate making was the best thing about our visit. We could see the entire factory and all the equipment. The presentation on chocolate making was so detailed and clear that even the kids were enthralled. Little samples of the chocolates were given out as they went through the various stages of processing. It was just incredibly well done.” -Linda, Wisconsin

We hope you’ll join us at our factory for a chocolate discovery. See you soon!


There’s a synergy between microbreweries and LCC: the attention to craft, the ingredients, the process. The opportunity to work with these amazing, local brewers is one we look forward to every year.  What chocolate to pair with what beer?  The combinations are endless and as we like to say, there are no rules! The exploration is a lot of fun and the discovery of a perfect pairing is memorable.                                                                                                                                                      

Due to overwhelming demand in past years, LCC hosted two chocolate and beer pairing sessions at this year's Brewer's Fest. While many of these beers are only available locally, you can probably find similar style beers in your area. 

 

 

Here are this year’s pairings:

Chocolate: Caramelized Hazelnuts

Whole Oregon Roasted Hazelnuts candied in copper kettles and tumbled coated in milk chocolate.

Beer: Zero Gravity – The Keeper (7.2%) Aged and blended Biere de Garde.

 

Chocolate: Organic Spicy Aztec

Dark chocolate with a blend of spicy cayenne pepper, pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon delivers big flavors.

Beer: Trapp Lager Brewery – Star Trapp: The Next Collaboration Lager (6.5%)

 

Chocolate: Organic Creamy Coconut Bar

Classic combo of rich dark chocolate filled with a creamy coconut center made with Kimball Brook Farms heavy cream and creamed coconut.

Beer: Fiddlehead Brewing Co. - Hodad Vanilla, Chocolate, Coconut Porter (5.5%)

Paradise in a glass. This beer is brewed using real vanilla beans, cacao nibs, and plenty of coconut which was toasted in a wood fired oven.

 

Chocolate: BeBop Hop Bar

Collaboration brew-bar; a malty caramel sweetened with Long Trail wort and infused with hop oil creates a one-of-a-kind beer and chocolate experience!

Beer: Long Trail Brewing Co. – Cacao Porter, brewed with Belize cacao nibs and a good malty base


Be sure to check out the video above and some photos from the event that really capture the energy and excitement of the brewers, chocolate makers, and fans! We really shouldn’t wait a whole year to do this again!


Chocolate Covered Orange Peels

Posted on July 19, 2013 9:53 AM by Amy Lipsitz

It takes three days to craft these sweet, citrus chocolates, but one bite makes it all worth it!

1. Our orange peels start as fresh oranges that we peel by hand. Next, the oranges are blanched in boiling water three times to remove any impurities in the peels as well as most of the bitter flavor.

2. After that, the oranges are cooked in a sugar syrup for about an hour and a half on a slow simmer to allow the sugar to absorb into the peels. Once the sugar has fully absorbed into the peels, they’re removed from the heat and allowed to sit in the syrup overnight to ensure the sugar concentration is at its peak.The next day, the peels are cut into strips by hand and dried in a low temperature oven to remove excess moisture.

Now for the chocolate…

3. The next day the peels are enrobed in 54% dark chocolate. This is a two step process- first, the chocolates are coated on one side then flipped and coated on the other for maximum chocolate coverage, which is very important! 

4. We let the chocolate set and then they're ready for you to enjoy!

 


Ice Cream at Summervale!

Posted on July 11, 2013 11:21 AM by Amy Lipsitz

The first Summervale is finally here! Summervale is a celebration of community, Vermont farms, and local food. Each Thursday night, the Intervale comes to life with delicious food and drink from local farmers and producers, scrumptious tastings from Slow Food Vermont, local live music, City Market food workshops and kids' activities from Healthy Living! 

We’ll be there serving up scoops of our delicious 100% Vermont dairy ice cream; Vanilla Bean, Belgian Chocolate, Almond Butter Crunch, and Coffee. It’s sure to be a great night full of good food, friends and fun. Hope to see you there!

 


4th of July Ice Cream Desserts

Posted on July 2, 2013 11:29 AM by Amy Lipsitz

A 4th of July celebration wouldn’t be complete without dessert. At LCC summer desserts must include one of two things, chocolate or ice cream! Here’s a list of our favorites for the 4th...

Patriotic Sundaes

Take LCC vanilla ice cream, drizzle with hot fudge sauce and top with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

United Shakes of America

Put vanilla ice cream and milk in a blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour the shake into three containers and add mashed up strawberries to one, mashed blueberries to another and leave the last as is. Take tall glasses and fill one glass 1/3 of the way with the blueberry shake mix, 1/3 with the plain vanilla and 1/3 with the strawberry, enjoy!

Independence Day Ice Cream Cake

Bake an Ultimate Chocolate Cake and let cool. Add a layer of ice cream between the cakes, frost with your favorite icing and decorate with red and blue candies. Allow the cake to set in the freezer for at least 45 minutes before serving.

Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Sandwiches

Make sugar cookie batter and split in two, add mashed up blueberries to one batch and mashed up rasberries to the other, bake and let cool. Add LCC vanilla ice cream atop a rasberry cookie, top with a blueberry cookie and enjoy!

Wishing you a happy, chocolate and ice cream filled 4th of July!


 

Although the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival ended a few weeks ago, we are still reminiscing on all the fun times we had with our partners at Long Trail! Our limited edition BeBop Hop Bar, created to raise funds for the FlynnArts “LCC Youth in Jazz Scholarship,” was an incredible success!

Festival goers, hop fanatics, and chocolate lovers purchased 1,695 bars, which raised over $4,300 towards the scholarship fund. Our goal was to beat our record from last year’s Boom Bam Bourbon Pecan Bar sales and…we did!  We raised last year’s number by 349 bars, which will help create even more opportunities in performing arts education for young musicians in Vermont. 

We had so much fun creating the BeBop Hop Bar and are already looking forward to next year. Any ideas for an encore chocolate bar that reflects the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival?  Send them our way!


 

It stopped raining and the sun is shining just in time for the weekend…we’ll be celebrating summer tonight at the South End Truck Stop with our pops and ice cream! The South End Truck Stop is a weekly food truck rally held every Friday in the parking lot behind 400 Pine St. from 4:30- 9pm. Food and drink are provided by Burger Barn, Southern Smoke, Muchacho Taco, Mocean Mate, Fiddlehead Brewery and more! A portion of the proceeds from the Truck Stop benefit the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf--good times for a good cause.

Lake Champlain Chocolates will have lemonade, pina colada and half & half flavored pops; they are the perfect, refreshing dessert after a food truck dinner! For those looking for something a bit more creamy and decadent we will have Belgian Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Coffee and Almond Butter Crunch flavored LCC ice cream.

Food, drinks, music, neighbors, what better way to celebrate summer in Burlington! See you there!