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Top Ten Lake Champlain Products of 2012

Posted on September 10, 2012 9:17 AM by Caitlin

We have an amazing variety of products here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, from our truffles – the first product we ever created – to our bars, selection boxes, and Chocolates of Vermont, and a lot of it is popular. But we recently saw a listing of the Top Ten Chocolate Trends of 2012, and that made us think. What products do we have that have seen a lot of success in 2012? Here’s what we came up with:

Chocolate Frog

10.Novelties

One item that can always get a reaction from our customers is a novelty. Whether it’s a chocolate turkey, a spooky chocolate cat, or a more conventional chocolate Easter bunny or chocolate santa, the variety of novelty items we make and the specialized way in which we hand decorate every item shows in the oohs and aahs these get when customers pick them up in our stores.

9. Signature Bars

We sell our chocolate through three channels: in our retail stores, online, and by distributing to various stores around the country. Our most popular product for these stores to stock is our bar, and our natural ingredients and high-class Belgian chocolate leave little wonder as to why. With delicious flavors such as Raspberry and Hazelnut Praline, there is a lot to choose from, but our top sellers are our 54% dark chocolate and our milk caramel.

8. Caramel Nut Clusters

Using a variety of different nuts, from almonds to pecans to macadamia nuts, we have created the perfect combination of caramel, chocolate and nut. In fact, since nuts are healthy, and chocolate isn’t bad for you either, our retail staff have been known to eat these clusters for breakfast. They consistently draw the eye of our customers in our retail stores, and demand is strong online as well!

7. Truffles

We made our name with a truffle, and our truffles are still one of our hottest items. The ganache (the inside of our truffles), is handmade with – believe it or not – an egg beater, and there is literally one guy in our factory who makes all of our ganache, blending the Vermont butter and cream into our chocolate, and adding the appropriate flavorings. Our top selling flavors are Legendary Dark and Raspberry.

6. Five Star Bars

We may have started with truffles, but we broke new ground with our Five Star Bars. From mentions in books, to exclamations of pure joy when we give them out as samples on our factory tours, we know and love all five of our flavors. Our hazelnut and caramel bars, however, rule this category.

5. Hot Chocolate

Our hot chocolate goes beyond the “just add water” variety. We create a creamy, smooth and delicious blend that has earned us a place on the Wall Street Journal’s Serious Hot Chocolate article. With a number of varieties, from Spicy Aztec to Mountain Mint, we have more than just liquidized our chocolate – we have created a new genre. Top sellers here include our traditional and our organic blends.

4. Chocolates of Vermont

These were the second set of products we ever made, almost thirty years ago. There are four flavors, each representing a different Vermont season. With close ties to Vermont’s seasons and ingredients, these are big hits for gifts for out-of-state-ers or for anyone who just loves maple toffee, honey caramel, peppermint, and fruit and nuts in delicious chocolate. We sell them in a variety of forms, from gift bags to beautiful gift boxes.

3. Almond Butter Crunch

In our stores, we will frequently have people come in and purchase a whole pound of this, probably because it is very difficult to stop eating after just one piece. The buttery-ness of the toffee topped with almonds that we grind ourselves and a little bit of saltiness all combine to make this an irresistible treat. That’s why we offer it as one of our items in our chocolate of the month clubs and it is why it retains the Bronze position on our top-ten list.

2. Peanut Butter Cups

An all-American treat, it’s no wonder this has the Silver position on our list. We create the inside of our peanut butter cups by mixing peanuts with white chocolate into peanuty, sweet deliciousness, layered on the bottom and on top with our milk chocolate. Once you’ve have one of ours, you’ll never want to go back to any other kind!

1. Sea Salt Caramels

We make all of our caramel in house, and it is truly delicious, and deserving of the Gold spot on our list. The salt on top of these chocolate-coated caramels cuts through the sweetness of the candy, and also helps you to explore all of the flavors within the caramel (that’s why we use salt in baking – it opens up other flavors.) It’s a winning combination, and, as anybody in our retail store can tell you, it means that we constantly have to restock the shelves with more!

That’s what we see as our top-ten, but that’s not all we do. Did we miss something you love? If so, let us know in the comments!


Select Origin 101

Posted on July 22, 2009 9:51 AM by Allison

Apparently cacao trees don't like snow.

They do like hot, humid equatorial regions such as Central and South America, Africa, Indonesia and even Hawaii.  You probably knew this.

What you may not know is that where the cacao tree grows is going to influence the flavor of the chocolate that is produced from it. 

It’s called terroir, a term that refers to a region lending unique characteristics and influencing the flavor of a food.  Climate, nearby vegetation, and the type of soil are among the factors in determining a food’s terroir, and because of this, we have so much variety when go shopping for things like wine, coffee, and most importantly, chocolate.

Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates we have a variety of Select Origin chocolates, each with unique flavor profiles that represent the region where the beans were harvested.


Lets start with our Sao Thome 70% chocolate.  Sao Thome is part of an island group off the coast of New Guinea.  Cacao trees grow nearby vanilla fields, and when the cocoa beans are harvested, they are already infused with natural vanilla scents, which translate into a delicate flavor when you bite into our robust Sao Thome bar.

Like fruit?  I encourage you to give our Tanzania bar a taste, and see if you can pick up on the naturally-occurring flavor in this one.  This 75% cocoa content is also very smooth and creamy, which is perhaps why it brings customers to our cafés year-round to experience the house-made Select Origin hot chocolate made with this intense chocolate and rich Vermont milk.  A small cup is just enough to take care of a chocolate fix – but don’t forget to have some of our own fresh whipped cream on top.
                                                                                       
Lastly, we have our 80% African Blend.  This is our darkest chocolate, complex and uber-chocolatey, made from a variety of African beans, with a subtle mild nutty flavor that is sure to leave your sweet tooth satisfied. 

This is the go-to bar for any die-hard dark chocolate fan, its also a boost in antioxidants (yay! chocolate is good for us!), or for anyone looking to keep their sugar intake low, as the African blend bar has just eight grams of sugar per serving.

Keep your ears open for Chocolate Tastings we hold at our Factory Store to learn more about how to enjoy exceptional chocolate!


Five Star Bars in the Morning!

Posted on April 10, 2008 4:44 PM by Admin

So we’ve discovered a trick here at the chocolate factory. In our break room, there is a window that looks out at one of our enrobers. It’s about 10 feet away. If you come in early, you see the folks in production in full swing and often they’re enrobing one of our Five Star Bars. Usually we all watch for a minute or two while we make a cup of tea.

Here is what we’ve discovered. If you stare for a while and you’re expression is one of enough longing and pity, there’s a good chance they’ll bring some fresh seconds out on a plate to the break room for snacking on. Mind you, there’s rarely a time when there isn’t chocolate around to snack on but the opportunity to gobble down a freshly made Five Star Bar is one I can’t resist.

And this morning, they were making Caramel Five Star Bars. And on a day when you’re not quite sure if it’s going to be a good one or a bad one, a fresh bite of Caramel Five Star Bar is enough to tip the scales in favor of good. (But maybe I should find a better word to use than “scale”…)