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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 Citrus Bomb!

Posted on August 2, 2012 11:20 AM by Meghan

Alchemist Heady Topper (8.0%ABV) with Dark Chocolate Orange Peel and Dark Chocolate Covered Almond.

 Last but not least, here is our final pairing from the Brewer’s Festival. 

We admit, it took us awhile to find a chocolate that could handle this double IPA; but once we hit upon our dark chocolate orange peel, it created a citrus bomb! 

Alchemist’s Heady Topper carries a huge aroma and even bigger flavor. A variety of citrus (orange & grapefruit), bitter and a sweetness of pineapple are led by a piney aroma.  Coupled with the orange peel, there is a cohesive play of sweet and sour.

The chocolate almond’s bitterness complements this big beer, meanwhile roasted almond is boosted when tasted after a gulp of the Heady Topper.

While many of the beers we pair with are local to the Vermont area, we hope this encourages you to try your own local craft brews with some chocolate.  It’s an experience that will literally change how you think about beer AND chocolate!


Chocolate Beer: A Vermont Partnership

Posted on July 31, 2012 10:39 AM by Meghan

 

Without further delay, here is beer and chocolate pairing number two from the Brewer’s Festival.

Last spring our friends at VT Pub & Brewery gave us a call and said they wanted to try brewing a chocolate stout and wondered if we would be interested in providing them with our gourmet chocolate.  We spent, oh about, one second thinking about it before we said “of course!”

And so the Lake Champlain Chocolates Stout was born.  Brewed with Madagascar cocoa nibs roasted here at LCC, this stout is the Pub’s first beer to go through the experimental line three times and move to 14BBL production!  Rich, dark, smooth and sweet, this is a full-bodied milk stout.  We’ve been a big fan of this beer since we first tasted in April 2011, but we had yet to try a pairing until this year’s Brewer’s Festival.

We found the organic butter and heavy cream in our Organic Vanilla Truffle was the perfect complement this milk stout and the deep, roasty, chocolate flavors blended nicely with the Madagascar bourbon vanilla. 

A chocolate beer and a chocolate truffle: this pairing proves you can never have too much chocolate!


What a Pair: Sour Wheat & Salted Caramel!

Posted on July 25, 2012 4:22 PM by Meghan


The scene on Saturday at the Burlington Waterfront.

We take beer and chocolate pairings very seriously here at LCC.  Long nights of hard work, tasting, pouring, tasting, pouring some more, it can go on and on.  Someone has to put in the hours, right?

Well, we can finally share all that hard work with you!  This year’s pairings at the VT Brewer’s Festival did not disappoint.  In fact, it seems to get better and better every year.  And the rest of you must think so too since we had a standing room only for both sessions! 

Without further ado, here is the first pairing: 
Zero Gravity ,a local brewer located at American Flatbread, collaborated with Otter Creek to create the Berliner Weisse (3.0%ABV) paired with our Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel.
This sour wheat beer, with traditional brew relevance to Northern Germany, is very light with a tartness resembling champagne. The sea salt caramel has complex cooked dairy and caramelized sugar flavors. A touch of sea salt highlights the dairy and lactic sour. When tasted together, the beer’s high sour lifts the cooked dairy flavors of the caramel.

Give it a try! 
Look for the rest of the pairings in the next few days.


Guinness Brownies

Posted on March 31, 2011 3:35 PM by Allison

Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, it’s no doubt we like chocolate.  We also like beer.  We especially like combining beer and chocolate, either in pairings, in recipes, or by just noshing on some chocolate then swishing beer around in our mouths.  I’m only kidding.  Kind of.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this month, and also for an office bake sale to raise money for the United Way, I decided to take the classic March 17th beverage-of-choice (did you know that 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed every St. Paddy’s day?) and mix it with dark chocolate to make a delectable baked good.  The results? The moistest, richest and most intense brownie you’ve ever tasted. 

I especially like this recipe because it uses three different types of chocolate from our amazing baking chocolate inventory.

4 eggs
¾ c sugar
8 oz Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate Chips
4 oz Lake Champlain Chocolates White Chocolate Chips
6 tbsp unsalted butter (what’s up, Cabot?)
¾ c King Arthur’s Flour
¾ c Lake Champlain Chocolates Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 ¼ c Guinness Stout
Confectioner’s Sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, beat eggs & sugar until light and fluffy.  Melt white and dark chocolate chips with butter over very low heat, stirring regularly.  Add to egg mixture.   In a small bowl, whisk together flour and cocoa powder.  Beat that into egg mixture until well combined.  Gently blend in the Guinness, the batter will have a very liquid consistency.  Pour into buttered 9x13’’ pan, and bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Allow to cool completely in pan.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Makes 15 brownies.

Adapted from The New Irish Table Cookbook


It’s no secret that Switchback Brewery is a local legend here in Vermont.  Their classic Unfiltered Ale is on tap in every bar in town and chances are if you try it once, you’ll be hooked. 

You may remember from last year’s Chocolate and Beer Pairings at Brew Fest, we paired Switchback’s Porter with our classic 54% Dark Chocolate.  This year, same brewery, different beer, different chocolate and amazing results.

Switchback’s Roasted Red & Honey Caramel

Our Chocolates of Vermont Honey Caramel is made from sweet, locally-harvested honey which is infused into our caramel and then drenched in a semisweet dark chocolate. The honey gives the caramel a complex blend of flavors beyond your typical caramel.

Switchback’s Roasted Red has strong, caramelized malt notes which match up beautifully with the Honey Caramel.  The floral notes in the honey really enhanced and brightened up the rich, hoppy flavor of the Roasted Red.  This is one match you have to try!


Switchback Dooley’s Belated Porter (5.8%) with Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate Square  

 For locals, Switchback’s Unfiltered Ale is what you order.  Walk into a Burlington bar or restaurant, you’ll see 90% of the beer drinkers with a murky, amber colored potion in front of them.

I’ll admit, sometimes I go for a Belgian White Ale (I love how it’s served with an orange slice) or will order a house beer if I’m at a microbrewery, but almost always, I go for the Switchback. 

The Switchback Brewery reminds me slightly of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – mysterious, very few people work there, yet they create incredible beer, readily available on tap at restaurants and bars around Vermont.  

Our fourth and final beer paring at Brewfest combined Switchback’s Dooley’s Belated Porter, a 5.8% alcohol by volume porter, with our Signature Dark Chocolate.  The flavor profile for our dark chocolate includes brown fruit (think cherries, dates, raisins), vanilla, baked brownie and brown spice. 

Porters, like stouts, have chocolate undertones, which in this pairing, brought out those subtle flavors in the chocolate, like brown fruit and baked brownie.  Mmm… 


Beer Pairing No. 3

Posted on August 19, 2009 9:24 AM by Allison

American Flatbread's Zero Gravity Extra Stout with Lake Champlain Chocolates' Organic Mango Truffle

American Flatbread epitomizes Vermont’s general food ethics – use local ingredients, keep it simple - yet inventive – and always delicious.  And of course, brew good beer to go with it. 

A trip to the Burlington restaurant will offer you literally hundreds of beer options to go with your hearth-fired flatbread.  Their own microbrews are brewed in-house and include intriguing varieties such as Boognosh Brown Ale and Grisette.

For Brewfest, we paired our Organic Mango Truffle with American Flatbreads Zero Gravity Extra Stout.  Like really, really dark beer?  This one is for you.  The word “opaque” doesn’t even begin to describe this darkly roasted malt beer. 

It pairs well with the light tropical fruity flavor of our dark chocolate Organic Mango Truffle.  The flavor of the mango emerges even more and flirts with the chocolate flavor that is oftentimes found in stouts.


Beer Pairing No. 2

Posted on August 13, 2009 1:01 PM by Allison


Wolaver’s Organic Brown Ale (5.7% ABV) with Lake Champlain Chocolates Organic Dark Chocolate Spicy Aztec

Wolaver’s is one of my favorite local microbrews.  Ok, I think I would call all Vermont microbrews “one of my favorites”, but I’m really impressed with Wolaver’s commitment to sustainable and organic brewing methods. 

All of their boilers are powered by biodiesel, they too, boast using primarily Vermont ingredients in their beer, and all of their spent grain is repurposed to feed local livestock. 

If that’s not enough to impress you, give one of their brews a try.

The Organic Brown Ale is 5.7 % alcohol by volume.  The beer is mild, a deep amber in color and very smooth, with a slight malty flavor.  Cherries and black currants also lend some flavor to this well-balanced ale.

At the Lake Champlain Chocolates Brewfest Tent, we paired our 55% cocoa content Organic Aztec Squares with Wolaver’s Organic Brown Ale. 

Our Aztec squares add cinnamon and cayenne pepper to an organic dark chocolate.  Keeping with a South-American flavor profile, we’ve added in pepitas, or Mexican pumpkin seeds.  The Aztec squares will give your mouth a little kick, complimenting the dark chocolate and creating a wonderfully unique tasting experience.

Tasters found that the Brown Ale really brought out the spices in the chocolate and the sweet fruit flavors in the beer complimented the spice nicely. 

Check out last Friday’s Burlington Free Press to hear more about the event!


Chocolate & Beer Pairings from Brewfest

Posted on August 5, 2009 10:36 AM by Erin



For those of you who missed out on our Chocolate & Beer Pairing at this year's Vermont Brewers Festival, here are the first of the tasting notes as promised.  The event seemed to be a big hit, even despite the weather.  Gary Coffey, our Retail Sales Director, led a crowd of approximately 100 people first through the steps in how to taste chocolate & beer and then through the actual pairings themselves.

Gary started off by explaining to the crowd the first rule for pairing chocolate & beer is...that there are no rules! What tastes good to you may not to your neighbor, so just go with whatever floats your boat.  Just be sure to take your time and to enjoy the craftsmanship that goes into producing each of the fine beers & chocolates.

So without further adieu, here is the first our chocolate & beer pairings...bon appétit!

Pairing #1
Harpoon Leviathan IPA (9.3%) w/ Dark Chocolate Covered Orange Peel

This big beer by Harpoon has a powerful hop bitterness up front and just enough caramel malt to provide a balance to the hop intensity.  Its generous citrus tropical fruit notes make it a perfect match for our deliciously sweet candied orange peels drenched in 54% dark chocolate.

*This one was a favorite at the Vermont Brewers Festival!

Stay tuned for our other 3 pairings....