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Almond Butter Crunch: How It's Made

Posted on February 20, 2013 11:18 AM by Caitlin

Finished Lake Champlain Chocolates Almond Butter Crunch Mixing Toffee

Lake Champlain Chocolates began by creating truffles by hand out of the back of a restaurant. Now, thirty years later, we still craft many of our confections by hand. One of these chocolate candies is our Almond Butter Crunch, an English-style crunchy toffee filled with almond pieces, and covered in milk chocolate. Here is how it is made:

Pouring Almond Butter Crunch mixture

1. The toffee is cooked up in our large copper kettles. Using a blend of sugar, butter and evaporated milk, our cooks create a delicious gooey and sticky mixture. They add roasted almond pieces to this mix for the final touch.

Spreading warm toffee

2. This mixture is poured out onto our cooling table, where it is spread by hand into an even layer and left to cool.

Cutting Toffee in the Chocolate Factory

3. Lines are indented into the mixture to create pieces. Once the mixture has cooled and begun to set, it is indented into squares using a rolling cutter.

4. The toffee is left to harden: this takes several hours. When completely cool, the mixture becomes a crunchy toffee. If it is left out too long, it will begin to get sticky, so there is a specific window during which we need to work with it.

Chocolate Factory Workers Snap Toffee

5. Our factory team snap the toffee into pieces along the indented lines.

6. The morsels are sent through our "enrober": The enrober is possibly the coolest machine we have in our factory. Also known as a "chocolate waterfall," the three-inch-high curtain of liquid chocolate will coat anything that goes through it in a layer of chocolate. (You can see it coating our Sea Salt Caramels here.)

sprinkling almonds on toffee7. We top the chocolate-covered toffee with almonds that we have crushed ourselves: each piece of Almond Butter Crunch is sprinkled with almonds which are then patted down into the chocolate with a spatula.

Lake Champlain Chocolates Almond Butter CrunchSo now you know our secret. If you're ever near our Burlington factory, stop by for a visit, take a factory tour, and see our confections being made in person! In the meantime, feel free to buy our Almond Butter Crunch through our website.

Chocolate NonPareils from Lake Champlain Chocolates

There are all sorts of love, from the romantic kind to the familial type, and you should celebrate every kind of love on Valentine’s Day. So why not make sure you get something for your best friend? If you’re thinking that it can be a little odd to send a friend a red heart-shaped box of chocolates with romantic phrases written on the top, don’t worry, there are plenty of things that can carry the idea of a valued friendship without the romance.

For instance, getting something sharable is a great idea; not only do you get to partake in the treat, but you can throw in a DVD, and a pack of microwave popcorn and call it a ready-to-go night in with the gals or guys! For chocolate, try our nonpareils or some chocolate covered nuts. For movies, think Wayne’s World or Thelma and Louise, or, if you want to suggest something that might be in the works, When Harry Met Sally.

Whatever you choose, good chocolate will always be an integral part of the final package!

Our Director of Marketing, Cathy Wisloski, was on WCAX last night, talking about pairing our chocolate with local wine from Shelburne Vineyard. Watch the clip below for some great pairing notes, and read more about the pairings she mentions:

1. Lake View White with our Crème Fraîche Truffle: This wine has a light crisp flavor profile, with a little acidity and a little sweetness. The crème fraiche folded into our smooth milk chocolate in this truffle means there is a slight tartness to its flavor. Together, the sweet crispness in the wine offsets the tanginess in the truffle, creating that elusive, third flavor that only the perfect pairing can produce.

2. Louise Swenson with our Bergamont and Tea infused truffle: The astringency of the tea in this truffle is blended with the richness of the chocolate. Together, the chocolate highlights the fruitiness of the wine, and the wine lifts out the orange spice in the truffle.

3. Duet Ice Wine with our Caramelized almonds: In this pairing, the rich, luscious, thick body, of the wine is complemented by the buttery, rich flavor of the caramelized almonds. Together, the nuttiness in the almonds and the hints of apricot in the wine combine to create an incredible desert pairing

4. Vermont Marquette with our 70% dark Peru Chocolate: The Peruvian origin of the beans in this dark chocolate means it contain deep cherry notes, and these help to bring out the subtle spiciness of the Vermont Marquette, which is rich in a deep red fruit flavor.

Is all this talk making your mouth water? Come Visit Us at Shelburne Vineyard this Saturday, February 9, from 11 am to 5pm, to try it for yourself!

A Very Vermont Valentine

Posted on February 6, 2013 1:50 PM by Meghan

Chocolate and wine are natural companions to any Valentine’s Day celebration— and how better to celebrate than with two local Vermont companies with exceptional products:  Lake Champlain Chocolates and Shelburne Vineyard. 

Shelburne Vineyard is hosting “A Vermont Valentine” as part of the Vermont Grape and Wine Council’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend on February 9 and 10 at their tasting room on Route 7 in Shelburne.  The event will run from 11am-5pm with free wine tastings, chocolate samples and suggested pairings.  We will conduct the pairings and have Valentine chocolate gifts for sale on Saturday, February 9, from 11am-5pm.

We worked really hard tasting different wines and chocolates, and in the end we discovered both complementary pairings as well as pairings with distinctive contracts of flavors and textures.  And it’s our Valentine’s Day gift to share these wonderful pairings with you!

Highlights include the Louise Swenson and the Bergamot Honey truffle, part of our new line of Revel Chocolates. The citrusy, dry, light-bodied wine, made from grapes grown on the vineyard, complements the gentle orange spice of the tea in the chocolate. The Duet Ice Wine and Caramelized Almonds is an outstanding dessert pairing with the hint of caramelized sugar and butter that coats the nuts harmonizing with the rich layers of fruit sweetness in the wine.

Staff from both LCC and Shelburne Vineyard will be on hand to walk attendees through the various pairings.  There is no one correct way to pair wine and chocolate.  We encourage people to explore and try new combinations.  You never know what you might discover!

What to get your kids for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to show how much you care for those around you, and that includes all of the members of your family, even the little ones. Fortunately, we have the perfect gift for the children in your life. We have put together a fun little child-friendly box of chocolates. With six chocolate candies, all of which are milk chocolate, you can be sure the young ones will enjoy each piece.

Frog Coloring Page Image

But why stop at chocolate? We’ve created a coloring page based on the box top, which you can download here. Complete the set with a box of crayons, and you have a winning combination!

As an alternative to the box of frog-chocolates, or maybe in addition to it, you could also pick up one of our Chocolate Frogs. Kissing him might not turn him into a prince, but it will certainly taste good!

Whatever chocolate you chose, a little chocolate and a little coloring are sure to go hand in hand for your kids.

Download the Frog Coloring Page

Download the Chocolate Box Coloring Page

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries!

Posted on January 30, 2013 2:32 PM by Meghan


Lake Champlain Chocolates Dipped Strawberries



Pre-order sweet, delicious, hand-dipped chocolate strawberries today! 
Nothing says romance better than this Valentine’s Day classic.

All you have to do is call one of our three retail stores to place your order:

    Pine Street Factory Store– 864-1807
    Church Street Store – 862-5185
    Waterbury Store – 241-4150

Dipped strawberries are $38.00 per pound (plus tax), with 12-15 strawberries per pound. Just let us know how many you would like—we would love to pack them into a beautiful box and tie it with a bold red bow.  All you have to do is pick them up!

Pick up is available from Wednesday Feb 13 and Thursday Feb 14.

Strawberries are only available through our three retail stores. Unfortunately, due to their short shelf life and delicate beauty, they are not available online and cannot be shipped.

PS- They will sell out, so don’t miss your chance to give your Valentine a sweet, luxurious treat! 


Free Chocolate at Stowe!

Posted on January 29, 2013 3:27 PM by Caitlin
Stowe Ice Carving Competition

Thanks to our beautiful store in Waterbury, just down Route 100 from Stowe, we are the official chocolates of Stowe Mountain Resort. This weekend was a big one for the resort, as they were part of Stowe’s Winter Carnival, and on Saturday they hosted their annual Ice Sculpture Competition.

With only a few hours to create art out of frozen water, it was amazing to see these carvers work. Chainsaws, hand tools and rags were all used to create beautiful finished sculptures.

Free Chocolate for Everyone

All of this was great fun to watch, but with temperatures in the teens and an added wind-chill factor, we knew we had to help keep the crowds warm and happy. My mother always had chocolate in her pocket when we went skiing, and we passed along the tradition this Saturday, handing out free chocolate squares to adults and children alike.

Five Star Bar Sticker

If you missed us this past weekend, don’t worry – we’ll be back for more fun at the s’mores pit on February 16. In the meantime, look out for our 5 Star Sticker. It’s an awesome sticker to slap on a helmet or boot bag, but it’s even more awesome when you realize that it’s good for a free Five Star Bar, redeemable at our Waterbury location! Stowe staff will be handing them out if you look like you’re having a five star day, and you can always come and ask us for one at the s’mores pit!

Happy Winter! We hope to catch you (with some chocolate) on the slopes!

Might it be fair to say that traditionally it has been men who buy chocolate for women? Let’s think about that – does it have to be so? Are we implying that chocolate is inherently feminine? Now let’s change those stereotypes and start to think about what types of gifts us ladies can get for our husbands and boyfriends.

If chocolate is associated with women, beer is more often associated with men. When we put the two together, we create the kind of perfection you have your heart set on for Valentine’s Day. Fortunately, we have a page of our website dedicated to beer and chocolate pairing. You can also find more pairing options listed in other blog articles. Buying a gorgeous bottle of specialty ale and a nice box of chocolates is a great way to play to both sides of Valentine’s Day, and who knows, he might even share! In addition to the ones listed in the links above, here are a few more pairing ideas:

Peak Organic Ale and Chocolate Caramel Hearts

A New England Organic favorite, Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale, is widely available and has a light smooth and nutty flavor with hints of caramel and toasted malt. For Valentine’s Day, give him a bag of our Caramel Hearts to go along with it. The caramel tones in the beer itself along with its slightly sweet aftertaste complement the hearts well, and the lightness of the beer will stop it from overpowering the milk chocolate covering on these hearts.

Hobgoblin Beer and Spicy Chocolate

Stepping further afield to a foreign land, try Wychwood’s Hobgoblin, a British Beer and a great example of an ESB (Extra Strong/Special Bigger.) This dark, roasty beer has aromas of toffee and chocolate with a buttery finish. Package it along with our 5-piece truffle box and see how well the smooth ganache in the dark chocolate truffles works with the beer!

Wine and Chocolate

But it isn’t all about beer: you might want to heat up your evening with an organic spicy Aztec chocolate bar. To top off your gift, give him a few of those bars along with a nice bottle of red zinfandel, perhaps from the Ridge Lytton Springs or Geyserville. The 55% chocolate rounds out the acidity in these wines and counterbalances the tannins, while the pumpkin seeds enhance the wine’s roastiness and the cayenne spice in the chocolate balances the wine's fruity tones.

WhistlePig Whiskey and Chocolate Truffles

Finally, our newest style of truffle, the revel, features the Vermont-made WhistlePig Whiskey in one of the chocolates included. Get your guy a bottle of this fine rye whiskey (which has earned the highest marks from whiskey aficionados around the world) along with our chocolates. What could be more manly and yet more seductive?

The choice is yours, but whatever you decide to get your husband, boyfriend or good guy friend (with maybe the potential for more), don’t be intimidated by tradition.

A group of us from LCC goes every year to the Winter Fancy Food Trade Show in San Francisco.  It’s a HUGE show all about food, so we love it.  Not only do we get to show off our products, like our new Easter chocolates and organic bars, but we get to see what everyone else is up to in the world of food. 

This year we’re doing something a little extra.  We’re hosting a “How to Taste Chocolate” workshop for valued members of the media.  There are so many different chocolate companies sampling their goods at the show, it is overwhelming.  How does a journalist know if a chocolate is good or bad?  After awhile, it becomes hard to discern flavors and textures, what you like and what you don’t like.  We’re hosting a guided tasting for those interested in understanding the nuanced elements of tasting, evaluating and describing exceptionally sourced chocolate.   The tasting will include the following chocolates:

•   Single Origin Peru Dark Chocolate Bar
•   Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker’s Madagascar Wild Pepper
    (a Good Food Awards Finalist)
•   Organic Salted Caramel Bar (New, coming in March!)
•   Organic Spicy Aztec Bar

Our hope is by the end of the tasting, the attendees will know what to look for when they are out on the show floor tasting different chocolates and not be quite so overwhelmed. 

The tasting is Monday, January 21 at 1:30 in Room 222 of the South Hall in the East Mezzanine of the Moscone Center.  If you’re a journalist and are interested in attending stop by our booth #565 and we can sign you up!


Holidays are over and summer is still a long way off—it can be hard to find something to get excited about in late January (unless you are a skier and it’s dumping snow, then that is pretty darn exciting). 

Well, our Factory Store at 750 Pine St, Burlington, has a few things going on that might get you off the couch. 

First, we’re having a winter sale, starting Friday, January 18 through Sunday, January 27!  Featuring our gourmet hot chocolate, Five Star Bars, and our handmade truffles, it’s a great time to stock up on your favorites or buy some early Valentine’s Day chocolates (as long as you don’t eat them before the big day!)  We’ll have lots of samples out for you to try too!

Second, we’re hosting two, free, (yes, FREE) chocolate tastings on Saturday, January 26.

At 1:00pm and 3:00pm, you can taste chocolate with an expert who will walk you through how chocolate is made, the differences between chocolate, desirable qualities of chocolate and the six steps to tasting chocolate.  Attendees will sample our famous Five Star Bars (did we mention they will also be on sale?) and learn how to evaluate them.  There is no need to register for either session but seating is limited so it is recommended to arrive early.

Soon you’ll impress your friends and family by describing the flavor notes of chocolate as sour, spicy, earthy or fruity.  And showing off your bounty of chocolate you picked up at some great prices.

That seems pretty good for the end of January to me.