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Vermont Foodie Gift Guide

Posted on December 11, 2013 11:50 AM by Amy Lipsitz

Vermont has long been ahead of the curve in the “good food” department. The best maple syrup on the planet, award-winning beer and cheese, beautiful hand-blown glassware and simply stunning cutting boards are just a sampling of what our home state has to offer. Working at a chocolate company where ingredient and product quality are of the utmost importance, you can bet there’s a lot of LCC employees that could be classified as “foodies.” We asked around the office and compiled a list of our favorite Vermont crafted, food related gifts for the gourmand on your list!

      1. Lake Champlain Chocolates Revel Chocolates- Handcrafted truffles in five unique flavors, sure to please any chocolate aficionado. Paired truffles include WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Crème Fraîche, George Howell Espresso, Bergamot & Honey, and Chipotle Cinnamon.

2. Vermont Butcher Block Cheese Board- This cheese board was made with locally harvested Cherry and is just beautiful with the Tiger Maple stripe contrasting against the orange-red of the cherry. It's the perfect piece for a formal spread or even a picnic in the meadows of Vermont.

      3. Apple Cider Caramels- We teamed up with Citizen Cider and Happy Valley Orchard to create luscious, new Apple Cider Caramels!  Each bite will remind you of an orchard-fresh apple dipped in slow-cooked caramel and drenched in milk chocolate.  A classic taste of Vermont! 

4. Vermont Creamery Goat Log Trio- These fresh goat cheeses have earned an honored place among chefs, both home and professional alike. The cheese is made with fresh goat's milk that sets overnight, is drained and then shaped into logs. This cheese is distinguished by a simple, mild, fresh goat's milk favor and is highly versatile as an ingredient or as part of a cheeseboard.

5. New Duds Vegetable Print Tea Towels- Perfect for any kitchen, this set of tea towels is hand drawn and hand printed by our friends at New Duds in Colchester, VT. Set of three Flour Sack Tea Towels in unique vegetable print designs!

6. Lake Champlain Chocolates Peppermint Hot Chocolate- Have a merry, minty holiday season! Our Peppermint Hot Chocolate is a refreshing blend of luxurious cocoa and refreshing peppermint, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Just the thing to warm everyone up on a cold day!

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Lake Champlain Chocolates!


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!


Drinking Lake Champlain Chocolates Hot Chocolate at Stowe

The weather reports for our Vermont ski resorts are bringing in nothing but good news: Killington had 18 inches of fresh powder as of Thursday morning, and Stowe and Sugarbush both report a good foot so far, with more to come. But hitting the slopes (and the pow) can be tiring, and when you are in need of sustenance, there is no substitute for a good bite of chocolate. Here are some chocolates that always make a good mountainside snack:

1. Chocolate coins: The perfect size to take out while waiting in line for the lift, I never go skiing without filling my pocket with a handful of these. They also make you very popular with your friends when you share!

2. Granola five star bars: the best part about these candy bars is that they contain our home-made granola blend, complete with almonds and cranberries. So even though they are covered in a sumptuous dark chocolate, you can still argue that you are having a healthy snack (particularly since dark chocolate is good for you!)

3. A thermos of our hot chocolate: I used to go skiing with a (British) friend of mine, who would whip out a thermos of hot tea whenever we were on a particularly long lift. This was great, but even better would have been a thermos full of hot chocolate! Why not start the tradition with your skiing group?

Whatever you are planning on doing this weekend, make sure to bring some chocolate along. It always makes an adventure more fun (and tasty!)


Lake Champlain Chocolates Smores at Stowe!

Posted on January 14, 2013 3:43 PM by Caitlin

Having hot chocolate after a long day of sledding is a tradition, but wouldn't it also hit the spot after a long day of skiing, particularly at Stowe?

Lake Champlain Chocolates At Stowe Make Smores with Lake Champlain Chocolates

Of course! Fortunately you won't have to go without a cup hot chocolate any weekend that you ski at Stowe. In fact, every weekend from 2-4pm, free hot chocolate is paired with s'mores at Stowe's very own fire pit. Even, better, this happy event is sponsored by Lake Champlain Chocolates on certain special weekends throughout the season.

We just recently hosted our first s'mores event of the year, and what a success it was! Our Traditional Hot Chocolate earned high accolades from the tasters at the event -- both parents and children alike -- and if you think a s'more is good with standard chocolate, try making one with Lake Champlain's gourmet milk chocolate!

Hot Chocolate at Stowe

All in all, our first event was a snowy, sticky, sweet success, and we hope to see you there again this Saturday, on January 19th for some more free hot chocolate and s'mores.


Free Hot Chocolate Tasting

Posted on November 16, 2012 11:42 AM by Meghan

Come in and Warm up!

The holiday season is officially here and we're already celebrating with a free hot chocolate tasting on Saturday November 24 from 12-14pm at our Factory Retail Store & Café on Pine Street in Burlington.

We'll have a flight of four different hot chocolates to try including:

  • Organic - a classic chocolate flavor
  • Mountain Mint- perfect balance of cool peppermint and rich chocolate
  • Aztec –classic combination of cocoa and cinnamon
  • Old World - made with pure chocolate shavings (54% cocoa) for intense chocolate flavor

    Add one of our house made marshmallows or some fresh whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a cup of chocolatly goodness.

    Come taste what Travel & Leisure calls "America's BEST hot chocolate."


Plus we’ll have sweet deals on all sorts of treats- including hot chocolate!

Hope to see you there!


The weather here in Vermont is getting cool (it even snowed a little last week!), and while I still sometimes crave our delicious home-made ice cream, it is most definitely hot chocolate season. To get the DL on the best hot chocolate in town, I consulted our Pine Street Store’s Café Master: Logan Bouchard.

Logan Bouchard

LCC: We offer a lot of different types of hot chocolate in our cafés. Why is that?

LB: We offer a wide variety of chocolate types and confections in our store, so why shouldn’t we do the same with our hot chocolate? We want to make sure that everyone gets the flavors they like the best, so we give our customers the opportunity to choose from a variety of hot chocolate that suits every individual’s tastes. If you’re a milk chocolate fan, you’ll be happy with our regular hot chocolate. If you love dark chocolate, one of our dark, European-style hot chocolates could make your day.

LCC: What is the difference between our “dark” and our “regular” hot chocolates?

LB: Our regular chocolates use our hot chocolate mixes. They are recipes we came up with that we also sell in our store. The difference between how we make them for you in the café and how you would make them at home has a lot to do with our espresso machine’s steaming wand, our home-made marshmallows, and our lovingly whipped cream.

Our dark hot chocolates are created in a more European style. They are much more rich, with a deeper chocolaty taste. To make them, we literally melt down actual chocolate into our milk.

Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows

LCC: Which is the most popular hot chocolate drink among the people you serve?

LB: Our regular hot chocolates are very popular, although there is a dedicated Aztec Hot Chocolate following in our café. The other day, though, I made more Tanzania hot chocolate than any other. It was crazy. I really enjoy making the darker hot chocolates for people, because it allows people to experience a European-style dark hot chocolate right here in the heart of Vermont. It’s something special that sets us apart from other hot chocolate makers out there.

LCC: On the hot chocolate we sell, the instructions say mix with milk, and you do the same in your café here. Why use milk instead of water?

LB: Coming from Vermont, the land of more cows than people, I care deeply about the quality of good milk. When companies tell you to add water to their hot chocolate mixes, it’s because there is already dehydrated milk mixed into the cocoa powder. In our café, we add local Vermont cow’s milk to our hot chocolate, and this adds to the creaminess of the overall mixture. It adds a taste of place, and the hot chocolate becomes a creamy, rich experience instead of just a drink.

Think of it this way: when you drink a cup of hot chocolate, you want something warm and comforting, and there is nothing quite as comforting as a cup of warm milk. Hot water just doesn’t do the same thing.

LCC: Tell me a little about the science of hot chocolate. Why does chocolate and milk work so well together? What do you do to make it even tastier?

LB: In our café, we use the espresso machine’s steaming wand to make our hot chocolate. The constant motion combined with the heat helps to break down some of the lactose in the milk into simpler sugars. When making an espresso drink (like a cappuccino or a latte,) this creates a sweetness that counteracts with the intense flavor of the espresso. When making hot chocolate, this creates a nicer, foamy texture for your drink, and allows the chocolate and the milk to really become unified.

LCC: That sounds delicious, but most people don’t have an espresso machine at home. Is there anything they could do to recreate this?

LB: Sure! If you have a whisk, just heat the milk in a pan on the stovetop while stirring it with your whisk. This will also help to break down that lactose and you may even get a little foam! If you want to heat your milk in the microwave, try heating it in 20 second increments, whisking in between each time in the microwave. What you don’t want to do is heat the milk and then whisk it. The heating and motion have to be concurrent or it won’t create the same effect.

Lake Champlain Hot Chocolate

LCC: What about the Dark Hot Chocolates? What if somebody wants to make a Tanzania hot chocolate at home?

LB: You can do that! We use pistoles to make ours, so to make a hot chocolate like we do, add 4 rounded tablespoons of your favorite type of chocolate, preferable in pistole form (for instance, our Sao Thome Chips) to 8 ounces of milk. We add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to our dark hot chocolates as well. If you want to experiment further, you can cut up any type of chocolate and melt that into your milk.

LCC: You’re always experimenting with new drinks in the café. What do you suggest folks at home do to try their hand at that sort of creativity?

LB: The key is to start with simple alterations to classics. For instance, try adding cinnamon or cayenne pepper to a traditional hot chocolate (it’s how our Aztec chocolate came about!) Experiment with different spices and infusions (like a mint extract, for example.) You can also mix up the types of milk you use. I’ll tell you one thing: an old world hot chocolate made with coconut milk is out of this world.

LCC: What do you top it all off with to add that final café touch?

LB: in the café, we have two options whenever you order a chocolate drink. You can either get a home-made marshmallow (we actually have the recipe here) or you can top it off with whipped cream. I myself am partial to the whipped cream. It’s made with Monument Farm cream, so it has a higher fat content than most store-bought cream, and it’s whipped with love. We also add a healthy dose of Madagascar vanilla essence to it.

LCC: What is your personal favorite?

LB: I’m particularly partial to the Old World, topped with our home-made whipped cream. It’s the perfect combination of sweetness, richness, and comfort.

Stop in sometime and say hi to Logan, or let us know how your own hot chocolate experiments went at home!


Extreme S'moring!

Posted on February 21, 2011 2:26 PM by Erin

Lake Champlain Chocolates inadvertently invented a new sport this past weekend, EXTREME S'MORING!



The conditions were ideal at the Stowe Mountain Resort - gale force winds, -20 degrees temps, snow that was coming down sideways.  In other words, a perfect storm.

The heartiest of skiers & riders threw on their helmets, goggles, and a couple of extra layers to delight in our traditional hot chocolate and to roast our new homemade marshmallows over an open fire.



Who was selected MVP of extreme s'moring?  The kid who downed a record 8 cups of hot chocolate?  This little guy in the green jacket who showed impressive technique as he held on for dear life?



It was too hard to choose.  Let's just say they're both winners.


Visiting one of our three Hot Chocolate Cafes is an experience for all senses.  You pull up a seat at the bar and watch a skilled barista whip you up a cup of foamy, creamy Gourmet Hot Chocolate right before your eyes.  With the right ingredients and a little patience, you can make your own steaming cup of deliciousness to enjoy at right at home.  Perfect for cozy Sunday mornings, evenings by the fire or warming up after a day on the slopes.

You will need:

Lake Champlain Chocolates Gourmet Hot Chocolate selection of your choice.  With Traditional, Old World, Mocha, Aztec, Organic Fair Trade, or our two newest, Chai & Mighty and Mountain Mint, you’ll have to try them all!

Milk (we’re all about the Vermont whole milk here, but you’re welcome to use any kind of milk or milk alternative that you may prefer)

Small saucepan, whisk, candy thermometer and Milk Frother if you have one.

Your favorite mug

Freshly whipped cream (simply combine one cup of cold heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract in a bowl.  Whip with hand mixer to desired consistency, about four minutes) or Marshmallows (find the recipe here!)

Follow measurements on back of Hot Chocolate canister.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat, whisking frequently until it reaches 140°.  Remove from heat and gently whisk in chocolate mix or shavings.  Pour into your favorite mug, and froth, if you have a milk frother, or whisk more to make foamy.  Top with freshly whipped cream or homemade marshmallows, and might I suggest garnishing with Old World Shavings

Enjoy.

 

(and I’m probably supposed to say, caution, contents will be hot.)


It’s Hot Chocolate Time!

Posted on October 19, 2010 2:17 PM by Meghan

Hot chocolate is one of those foods that stir (sorry) a lot of memories for people, or at least for me.  In Vermont, we have A LOT of days that call for hot chocolate.  While the popsicle season is pretty short here, hot chocolate is practically a year round staple.

Growing up, countless days of sledding, skiing, ice skating, snowman-making and snowball fights ended with a cup of hot cocoa that literally warmed me from the insides out. In fact, I think sometimes that’s what I liked best about some of those activities, the hot chocolate and marshmallows you got to enjoy after you were all done.

Since working at LCC, I have rediscovered my love for hot chocolate.  Well, I never really lost it; I guess I should say I discovered real, gourmet hot chocolate. And I’ll never go back.
Traditional and Aztec are my favorites.  But I may be adding to that list, as we have two new flavors this year:  Mountain Mint and Chai & Mighty. 

Mountain Mint- refreshing, rich, and chocolaty.  For all those chocolate and mint lovers, this is your favorite flavor combination in drinking form.  I predict this to be a holiday classic.

Chai & Mighty- We’ve put our own twist on this ancient beverage which has been savored for centuries.  By replacing the tea with premium cocoa and blending it with cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, we’ve created a sweet and spicy taste sensation like you would not believe!

We always suggest serving our hot chocolate with the real stuff- yes, whole milk.  None of this skim milk nonsense.  If you’re going to treat yourself, do it right!  And for an extra special treat, you can also make your own marshmallows.

So, even though some of you might be dreading the colder temperatures ahead, it’s a great excuse to try some of our delicious hot chocolate.  And who knows, perhaps it will bring back some winter memories that aren’t all that bad.


This week I decided on pie. 

Not just any pie, but a Chocolate Mousse Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust.  The Graham Crackers were made from scratch, using King Arthur Flour’s recipe.  Not quite as sweet as store-bought, the homemade crackers were a nice balance for this very sweet mousse, but I’m sure any kind would work.  Fresh Vermont Cream and a touch of local honey chimed in with sweet Lake Champlain Chocolates milk chocolate, making this pie as fresh, local and gourmet as our chocolates.

Crust
2 c crushed graham crackers
1/3 c brown sugar
2 tbsp c honey
5 tbsp melted butter

Filling
3 egg whites
2 tbsp c honey
¼ c sugar
¾ c Lake Champlain Chocolates Milk Chocolate Chips
2 c heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract

To make the crust, combine graham crackers and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Press into prepared pie dish and refrigerate while preparing filling.

To make filling, combine egg whites, honey and sugar in top of double boiler.  Whisk over medium heat about five minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and beat until it thickens.  Meanwhile, melt chocolate in double boiler or at 30-second intervals in the microwave.  Fold melted chocolate into meringue and mix just until fully incorporated.

Separately, whip the cream to soft peaks, about five minutes, adding vanilla after about two minutes.  Add to meringue in three additions, and mix until just incorporated. 

Spoon into prepared pie shell, cover and chill at least two hours before serving.  I garnished the pie with our Old World chocolate shavings.