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Mardi Gras, Burlington-style

Posted on March 2, 2011 4:40 PM by Allison

It’s just once a year that the magic of New Orleans hits the streets of Burlington, and believe me, you don’t want to miss this one.

The energy is contagious.  The fun is permeable.  The loot is delicious.

Vermonters from near and far brave March’s unpredictable elements to join the crowds for creative floats, great costumes, beads, traditional moon pies and Lake Champlain Chocolates.  Our very own Gary Coffey, Director of Retail Sales, will be one of the judges voting for the best float.  We’re pretty proud.

The crowd’s increased size over the years has forced a slight change in the parade route.  Instead of heading up Church Street and the pedestrian marketplace, the floats are heading down Main Street toward the water.  That frees up Church Street for après-parade wandering and snacking.

While you’re wandering, definitely stop by our retail shop and café on Church Street for some fun Louisiana-style treats.  Lauren, our newest R&D guru, will be cooking up a recipe for a traditional Louisiana Praline confection, and we’ll be making fudge for the occasion.  If it’s chilly, grab a hot chocolate on your way to the parade to keep you warm while you cheer for beads.

Don’t forget to check out Emily Jones’ newest chocolate sculpture for the occasion, and she’s working on it as we speak.  It’ll be displayed in the window at our Church Street Shop.

We’ll see you down there!

 …and how we’ve established such a fervent following

 Ten:  We’re a part of the Vermont Fresh Network, which means we strive to build innovative partnerships among farmers, chefs and consumers to strengthen Vermont agriculture.

Nine: Because it’s made in super small batches by one person in one five-gallon ice cream maker.


 Eight: Our Maple Butter Pecan is hands down the best maple ice cream around.

Seven:  Our Ice Cream Cafes can turn any ice cream flavor into a milkshake.  What’s better, the milkshakes are made from only two ingredients: fresh Vermont milk and local Vermont ice cream.  But you can always have us add some malt powder if you like.

Six:  Our ice cream is the perfect compliment to our 75% cocoa content Tanzania chocolate sauce.  And fresh whipped cream.

Five:  We have two flavors of sorbet.  Not only vegan and low-calorie, but out-of-this-world-amazing.

Four:  Our famous handcrafted Almond Butter Crunch has made its debut as an ice cream flavor.

 Three:  You can buy pints of our ice cream along with your weekly groceries at Shelburne Supermarket, City Market or Healthy Living. 

Two:  We have three scoop shop locations in Vermont.  Visit any of our stores for a timeless treat all year long.

One:  There couldn’t be a better scoop of chocolate ice cream than the one made with gourmet Lake Champlain Chocolates.

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!

How to Get in the Holiday Spirit (For Free)!!!

Posted on December 2, 2008 3:06 PM by Leann

Have you spent all your money on your holiday shopping and now you’re too broke to do anything else? Well, there are lots of FREE (or nearly free) ways to get in the holiday spirit, no matter what holiday you celebrate.

1) Visit the Free Tours in your own backyard - I don’t know exactly what businesses are in your area but I bet if you look around, there are some cool things to check out. Just speaking from my area, I can go tour a chocolate factory (sure, it's where I work but you don’t have to work here to get a tour), a Teddy Bear factory, an Ice Cream Factory and even some breweries – all offering free factory tours and even samples. Just take a moment to view your neighborhood through the eyes of a tourist. Pick up some tourist brochures at your local Chamber of Commerce and begin your adventure. And since most businesses are dressed for the holidays, you’ll get right in the spirit in no time while becoming your areas best tour guide!

2) Volunteer during the holidays – Local community programs are always looking for holiday volunteers to help wrap gifts, drop off meals, spend time with animals at shelters over long weekends, tons of stuff. And the folks you meet along the way will remind you of all the often forgotten joys of the holiday season. For me, those joys are helping my community and spending time in the presence of people at their best.

3) Take a drive and look at the lights – You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to appreciate how beautiful the holiday lights are. They’re just pretty. Grab some cups of hot chocolate, pack some cookies and take a cruise (in the car or on foot) around the various neighborhoods in your area. And if it’s snowing, why not strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and take a tour. You’ll get a fun workout in while enjoying the show!

4) Visit a ski area – You don’t have to ski to enjoy being at a ski area. If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, sitting snuggle in the lodge with some warm cider while watching skiers and boards zoom down the hill in front of you. Most ski areas have a lounge or restaurant and many even have little “downtowns” created to feel like some European winter village. Spending time on the slopes is only part of the experience, not all of it. And maybe someday, you’ll even be tempted to try getting out on the slopes.

5) Enjoy in-store demos – This time of year, many businesses (especially crafts and kitchen shops) offer free in-store demos, classes and samples. Learn to bead, watch a cake decorating demo, samples freshly crafted chocolates, whatever you find. Just check your locals stores’ events calendar.

OK, if that’s not enough stuff to get you started, I don’t know what is. This year, don’t let the current economy (yours or the country’s) keep you from making the most of the holidays. There’s lots to do for the whole family out there. You just have to know where to look. If we can make this December the best ever, just imagine what it’ll be like for all of us when the economy makes it’s way back!

PS - Don't forget to comment for your chance to win free chocolate!

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