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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.


How To Host a Chocolate Tasting

Posted on November 20, 2012 12:44 PM by Caitlin

Like it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. To many, this means the joy of being surrounded by friends and family, be it for a Thanksgiving feast or for a carol-singing session around the Christmas tree. One thing is for certain, though: the season is full of opportunities to entertain. Hot cocoa and cookies is still a great traditional way to placate the grandkids (and we do have some delicious hot cocoa, if you’re so inclined,) but if you’re looking to become the host that everyone is talking about this season, read on.

For the true foodies out there, chocolate is more than just a delicious confection. Sure, it comes with health benefits, but it also comes packed with a variety of different tones and flavors that can be parsed and paired with everything from beer and wine to cheese. To impress your guests, host a chocolate tasting or pairing party. Here’s what to do:

First, you’ll want to make sure to learn how to taste chocolate. As tempting as it is just to eat it, to truly gain an understanding of all of the varieties of flavor in each different chocolate, you will want to make sure you involve all of your senses in the process. Here’s what we suggest you look for when tasting chocolate. And if you want to know how we do it, read our notes on our Sensory Panel.

To host a chocolate tasting party in the purest form, try looking at our single source bars. The beans in these bars come from just one location, so the flavors vary tremendously. You always want to start with the lightest chocolate first, so:

  1. 54% Dark ChocolateStart with our 54% Dark Chocolate. This isn’t a single source – it’s a combination of beans from Ghana, Sao Thome (an island off of the west coast of Africa,) and Tanzania – but it’s a great place to get your chocolate bearings, since this is the dark chocolate we use most frequently to make our truffles and other treats. Try and think about all of the flavors involved. What do you taste under the “chocolate” flavor?

  2. Sao Thome 70% Dark ChocolateMove on to our Sao Thome. This should taste quite different from the 54%, and not just because it is a little more bitter due to the higher cocoa percentage. Can you discern some earthy flavors? Maybe a slight hint of vanilla? Some people even taste a bit of olive.

  3. Peru 70% Dark ChocolateNext try our Peru. This is the same cacao percentage as the Sao Thome, but the beans come from the other side of the world. Can you taste the difference? It is much creamier, and has much fruitier tones than the Sao Thome. Can you taste a slightly unripe banana? There are also some nice floral tones in there. One thing to note about our Peru, is that, unlike most of our chocolate, which is made with about 20% cocoa butter, our Peru has 40% cocoa butter, making it deliciously smooth and creamy.

  4. Tanzania 75% Dark ChocolateNow taste our Tanzania. This is a 75%, so it’s a little higher in cocoa than the last two you tried, but again, for something so close in cocoa content, it tastes surprisingly different. How does this compare to the Peru and Sao Thome? What types of flavors can you pick out? Perhaps a ripe banana? We use this one to make our delicious fudge sauce (available only in our retail stores) because the fruity tones blend deliciously with ice cream.

  5. African Blend 80% Dark ChocolateAs a penultimate step, move on to the African blend. At 80%, this is the highest cocoa content chocolate we produce. It is made from the same blend as the 54% (Ghana, Sao Thome and Tanzania). How does this compare to the others? What can you taste?

  6. And finally, we have worked our way through higher and higher cocoa percentages so now go back and try one more bite of the 54%. Has the taste changed from what you originally perceived? Are you surprised?

 

Of course, doing an entire tasting like this means two things: first, that, by the end, unless you take very small bites of each (which I suggest you do!) you’ll most likely have had enough chocolate to last you the rest of the evening. Second, you will also realize quite quickly that it is important to have water on hand, if only to cleanse the palate a little.

If you’re looking to do a pairing, though, alcohol is also a great way to refresh your palate. The natural acidity, particularly in beer, will help rid your mouth of some of the fat residue left from the chocolate. To find beer and wine that pair nicely with chocolate, use the flavors you discerned in the chocolates to find drinks with similar or complementary tones. Here’s what we came up with when we hosted a party.

We also have a history of pairing our chocolates with beer. Look through what we’ve done in the past here.

Finally, why not progress a little further, and involve another Vermont specialty: cheese? You can find some of our pairing suggestions for chocolate and cheese here.

Have you thought of a good chocolate pairing, or discovered an interesting flavor in one of our chocolates? Post your ideas for a chocolate pairing on our Facebook Page


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!