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How To Store Your Stash

Posted on May 25, 2011 9:44 AM by Allison

It’s a reoccurring question – especially this time of year.  Our customers will call us up and say “I just received a shipment, help! How do I store my truffles so they stay fresh?” or “It’s 90 degrees here, how to I keep my Five Star Bar supply from melting?”

And we say “Good question!”



Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, we monitor not only the temperature, but the humidity levels in our factory, warehouse and all of our stores to make sure the chocolate tastes just as good when it reaches the shelf, as it did right after it was made.  We also have strict rules, prohibiting employees from wearing perfumes or strong-smelling shampoos, lotions, etc.  Chocolate will absorb that lavender scent, and then, you get lavender-flavored chocolate.  We’re adventurous, but not that adventurous.

So, while we go to great measures to monitor the environment our chocolate lives in with us, once it enters the world, it’s a little trickier to keep tabs on all of our bars, squares and handcrafted delights.  We have some golden rules for you to follow when storing your chocolate at home.

Rule #1: Don’t put your chocolate in the refrigerator.  Please.  Like absorbing perfume, chocolate will absorb the odors of your fridge.  Such as that leftover Chinese food.  No one wants General Tso’s Chocolate.  The fridge is also very humid.  Humidity will cause bloom on chocolate – the white haze that can affect the appearance of chocolate.  Let’s steer clear of that too.

Rule #2: Don’t put your chocolate in a pantry with lots of grains or fruits that will draw pests.  Moths like chocolate just like they like old cereal and boxes of rice.

Rule #3: Don’t put your chocolate near a heat source.  Like on top of the freezer, near a kitchen light or on a sunny window sill.  Because we use pure cocoa butter to make our chocolate smooth and creamy, it will begin to melt at about 68 degrees.  And while I’m talking numbers, the ideal humidity level is between 45%-55%.



Where can I store my chocolate?  How about in a cool, dark cupboard.  I keep my stash tucked in a deep serving bowl in a cabinet that only houses plates and bowls only – no food.  It’s away from odors, not humid (and hidden for those times where a covert indulgence is a necessity).  Or in the freezer?  We recommend putting chocolate in an air-tight container before tucking it away next to the ice cream and frozen peas.  Just bring it to room temperature in that container before you open it.

 

Here you go!  A few simple rules to follow and you can make sure your Lake Champlain Chocolates stash stays as fresh and tasty as it did when you received it.


A Little Ditty About Summer Shipping

Posted on May 6, 2011 12:09 PM by Allison


(goes to the tune of Grease’s Summer Nights)

Summer Shipping, it comes up so fast
Summer Shipping, like summer’s past
Send some chocolates, you want to so bad
Send some chocolates, your friends will be glad
Summer Shipping, worth every cent
And uh, oh that cocoa is right!

(Uh Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!)
(Tell me more, tell me more)
(What if I live real close?)
(Tell me more, tell me more)
(Like can I buy some coins?)

Temps are arising, it’s getting hot
The sun is shining, ready or not
We’ll send you some chocolate, but its gotta go Air
We want it to be solid when it gets there
Summer shipping, it’s kind of a pain,
And uh oh, those dark chocolate bites!

(Uh Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!)
(Tell me more, tell me more)
(You guys are so nice!)
(Tell me more, tell me more)
(Do you include ice?)

Sending chocolate in summer months
Its gotta get there almost at once
In just one day,
so the ice won’t melt away
And uh, do those Caramels delight!

(Tell me more, tell me more)
(Is it really worth it?)
(Tell me more, tell me more)
(Oh you bet it is!)

It costs a bit more, yes this is true
But we promise, we’ll do our best to get it to you
Totally solid, delicious and good
Even better than our competitors could!
So give it a shot, it’s really hot
And uh, oh those Truffles are nice!

(Tell me more, tell me more)
(How much do I have to spend?)
(Tell me more, tell me more)
(Can I send to my friend?)

It’ll turn colder, and that's where it ends
But I tell you, if you still want to send
Give us a call, while its still hot
It’s always worth it, if its chocolate you want!
Summer Shipping will be over so fast
And uh, oh that bark is the best!

 

The first phase of summer shipping begins on Monday, May 9th.  We don’t like it when you pay for chocolates and they don’t arrive in the same condition we send them in, which is why we required expedited summer shipping during the warm months.  Until June 1st, all chocolate shipped outside of New England will need to go 2nd Day Air.  After June 1st, it’ll need to go Next Day Air.  Please call 1(800)465-5909 or see our shipping information with any questions.  We hope you enjoyed our little tune.


Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, we like to say that Vermont isn’t just a state, it’s a way of doing things.  However, this isn’t just a slogan about our gourmet chocolates, it’s actually true of Vermont in so many ways. 

It’s no secret Vermonters are known for being independent-thinkers, progressive and environmentally-conscious.   We’ve been called hippies, we’ve been called liberals, but the truth of the matter is, despite these nicknames, we’re pretty proud of the fact that we like to do things our own way.

This history of our progressiveness started early on, before we were even technically a state.  In 1777, Vermont was the first of the original colonies to abolish slavery.  We were also one of the first states to give women voting privileges.  Women voted in town meetings in Vermont in 1918 – two years before the 19th amendment was put in place nation-wide. 

In more recent history, did you know we were one of the first states to embrace the Container Deposit Legislation, encouraging the recycling of glass bottles starting in 1973?  To this day, Vermont recycles more than most states, and is one of the few to still offer bottle redemption for carbonated beverages.

We were also the very first state to organize a state-wide movement to clean up our land.  Green Up Day was started when a Burlington Free Press reporter had the idea to rally Vermont citizens together on one day, to help clean up from winter – garbage, runoff and other unsightly damages from months of ice, snow and wind.  70,000 (yes that’s correct – I didn’t add any extra zeros!) showed up on April 18th, 1970 to help beautify Vermont’s parks and road systems. 

This Saturday, May 7, will mark the 41st annual Green Up day here in Vermont.  Garbage bags are available at town halls, and thousands of citizens will comb parks and roadsides, picking up litter and getting the state ready for our glorious green season.  This is such a widely embraced tradition, I can guarantee some of my fellow LCC’ers will be making a proud showing in our local town’s events.


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


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!


Après-Ski with LCC!

Posted on February 17, 2011 2:30 PM by Allison

I don’t know what could be better than a steaming cup of hot cocoa after a great day on the slopes.  Oh wait, yes I do!  A steaming cup of Lake Champlain Chocolates hot cocoa and a handmade gourmet ‘Smore after a great day on the slopes!

This Saturday, join our crew from Lake Champlain Chocolates at the Spruce Plaza Firepit (just outside the Base Camp at the Stowe Mountain Resort) for some gourmet treats to warm up with after a long day of skiing & riding.  We’ll be there from 2-4, passing out our Traditional Hot Chocolate and gourmet ‘Smores.

Our Traditional Hot Chocolate is just like you remember from being a kid, but something your adult taste buds will never forget.  Made with rich, local whole milk and only the finest ingredients, it’s a rich creamy experience to add some nirvana to a late-winter’s day on the slopes.

You’re in for a real treat if you stop by to try one of our specialty ‘Smores.  Enjoy one of our new home-made marshmallows and a milk chocolate coin warmed to perfection between two graham crackers.  This will be unlike the ‘Smores you’re used to.  We do it a little differently here at Lake Champlain Chocolates.  We make it fresh, we make it local, and we make it unforgettable!

We can’t wait to see you on the mountain!


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.)


When you call and order Lake Champlain Chocolates, you typically just speak to those of us in Sales. We take the orders, tell you when they’ll ship, when they’ll arrive and how much it is going to cost. What we don’t tell you is what goes on behind the scenes. You wouldn’t even imagine what goes into getting boxes of gourmet chocolates from the hands of our professional chocolatiers to your doorstep, and as quickly as possible.

While there are dozens of people and several departments for us to thank on a daily basis, this week the wonderful group in Shipping deserved an extra special “Thanks” for their efforts and mad-dashing to get all of our Chocolate Turkeys to your Thanksgiving table on time.

Peanut butter must have been on my brain, because armed with a family-sized jar, I went to work to create a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe worthy of our fantastic Shippers. My first try seemed to have worked, because after letting the peanut butter-lover I live with lick the spoon, I had a hard time keeping him away from the kitchen. Here’s what I came up with…

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 stick unsalted softened butter
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tbsp vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup of Lake Champlain Chocolates 34% or 54% chocolate chips
Additional white sugar for rolling, optional

Preheat oven to 350º. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer on low speed, cream together butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Add sugars and blend. Add egg and vanilla and mix until just incorporated.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda & baking powder. Add to wet mixture and blend well.

Switch to a wooden spoon and fold in your chocolate chips of choice. I used our 54% dark chocolate chips, but either milk, dark or extra dark would be phenomenal.

Roll cookies into small balls and coat in sugar if you choose. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use a fork to create a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking time. Allow to sit on baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Yields approximately 40 cookies


Autummmn Shipping

Posted on September 17, 2010 4:24 PM by Allison


A fall girl to the core, nothing makes me happier than autumn’s changing colors, cooler temperatures, apples and pumpkins, and of course the end of Summer Shipping here at Lake Champlain Chocolates. 

That’s right!  We, the Chocolate Experts, bundled up in our sweaters and corduroy, have determined that UPS Ground is once again chocolate-friendly. 

Just one caveat, however.  Yup, I’m talking to you Florida, Alaska and Hawaii.  If you want chocolate to arrive in solid form and a not a soupy mess, its Second Day Air for you.  We’re sorry, we’ve tried and there’s just no way around it!

Great news for folks who like to order their gourmet Chocolate Turkeys early, or if you love to spoil your trick-or-treaters with our Halloween chocolates, now’s the chance to order chocolate Pumpkins, White Chocolate Ghosts and Leaves.  Don’t waste any time, get your hands on these autumn treats now because they won’t last long!

Fall is one of the best times of year to give chocolate - especially since it’s one of those “just because” seasons.  Our fall chocolates are out-of-this-world delicious (have you tried our Hazelnut Praline Pumpkins?), and it now costs even less to send gourmet chocolate to those chocolate fanatics in your life.

 


South End Art Hop 2010

Posted on September 9, 2010 11:01 AM by Allison

Since Lake Champlain Chocolates is a proud sponsor, you’ve probably heard us talk about the South End Art Hop before.  It’s the weekend in Burlington when local art – from Crayola to sculpture and everything in between - is exhibited and the South End comes alive to honor the artists.

One of my favorite things about the Art Hop is the variety of art that is showcased.  Some of the best exhibits I’ve seen over the years have been a giant spherical barn, art from license plates, I love, love, love all types of photography, have seen some very cool performances, and, who can argue calling brewing delicious beer an art form?

Speaking of unique art, you’d be hard-pressed to find something cooler than art made out of chocolate!  This year, Emily Jones, manager of our Factory store and resident chocolate sculptress will be showcasing and demonstrating making Tiki-themed chocolate sculptures.  To see the free demonstration, stop by our 750 Pine Street location on Saturday September 11th.  It will take place at 2:00 and seating is limited, so arrive early if you’d like to check it out.

While you’re at our store, check out our other resident artist, Johanne Yordan.  Her mixed-media will be on exhibit as well.  I’ve seen a preview and it’s amazing!  Don’t forget to stock up on chocolate or warm up with a hot cocoa while you’re here!