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Stout + Truffle = Milkshake

Posted on August 18, 2010 10:38 AM by Allison

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we Vermonters love our beer.  (Ok, and our cheese, maple syrup, chocolate and apples, too).  We’re just a group of proud foodies and we love sharing our products with others.  While I’m bragging, let’s talk about Otter Creek Brewery.

Wolaver's Organic Beer is not only brewed by Otter Creek right in our backyard, it’s one of the few organic microbreweries in the area.  They’re highly acclaimed in the world of organics, and most importantly, all of their beers are completely yummy.

It only made sense that we go for an all-organic pairing of both beer and chocolate.  We selected the Organic Oatmeal Stout and our Organic Ethiopian Coffee Truffle, and it turned out to be a favorite of the four pairings at Brewfest.

This dark and opaque beer is typically a dessert beer, with rich, sweet flavor undertones like coffee and chocolate.  A sip of the stout and a nibble of the truffle created a marriage that was described by one person as “like a chocolate mocha milkshake”.  Mmm…

Well, that about sums up our Chocolate and Beer Pairings for this year.  Don’t worry, we’re already brainstorming delicious combinations for next year’s Brew Fest and can’t wait to share them with you.


Vermont may be called the Green Mountain State, but we Vermonters are very proud of our lake as well!  Just look at the name of our chocolate company!  Lake Champlain is our state’s western border, it’s rich in recreation, culture and history, and is a huge part of our economy.  And the sunsets over the Adirondaks?  Breathtaking.   

Last year marked the 400th anniversary of our region’s discovery by French explorer Samuel de Champlain.  The Quadricentennial Celebration was a huge success and this year’s Lake Champlain Maritime Festival will be better than ever. 

A proud first-time sponsor of the event, Lake Champlain Chocolates is even more excited because our friends Grace Potter & The Nocturnals are one of the performers.  We’ll be there selling the new, limited edition Grace Under Fire bar and of course, our incredible ice cream!

The four-day event takes place August 12th through 15th on Burlington’s Waterfront.  Highlights include a Vintage Boat Show, Shoreline Cruises on the Spirit of Ethan Allen, tons of local food and some great shows each night with MGMT, Gov’t Mule, Dark Star Orchestra and as mentioned above, our friend Grace Potter! Stop by if you’re in Burlington, learn a bit about this amazing lake of ours, and don’t forget to cool off with some Lake Champlain Chocolates ice cream


 It’s pretty cool when you’re from the same state as a famous rock star.  It’s even cooler when she wants to come hang out and create her very own chocolate bar. 

If you haven’t heard of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals yet – you can check them out here. here or here.  They’re from our own backyard and we were thrilled when they approached us to help produce a limited edition chocolate bar with their name on it. 

We were so pleased with the final product, that we knew we needed to include it in this year’s Brewfest pairings.  So we paired Magic Hat’s Blind Faith (ABV: 6.2%) with our Grace Under Fire Bar.  Unlike most of our pairings where the flavor profiles of the beer and the chocolate match up – (like choosing beers with chocolate undertones, for example) - this pairing boasts contrasting flavors, and boy was it amazing.

Blind Faith is one of Magic Hat’s two IPAs.  IPA or India Pale Ale is a beer of English origin, originally brewed for voyages to India, and if you’ve ever noticed how extremely hoppy it is, it’s because hops acted as a natural preservative for the long trip in the 19th century.  Nothing like a history lesson with your chocolate and beer!

It seems like IPAs are still a favorite in the world of brewers today.  Blind Faith is deeply malty, crisp and has a couple different types of hops – making it pretty bitter.  Paired with Grace Under Fire, with its salty pistachios and spicy red pepper flakes in 54% dark chocolate, you get a fabulous combination of all five basic taste profiles!  Sweet chocolate, salty pistachios, spicy red pepper and sour and bitter from the deliciously hoppy beer!  Cheers!

 


It’s no secret that Switchback Brewery is a local legend here in Vermont.  Their classic Unfiltered Ale is on tap in every bar in town and chances are if you try it once, you’ll be hooked. 

You may remember from last year’s Chocolate and Beer Pairings at Brew Fest, we paired Switchback’s Porter with our classic 54% Dark Chocolate.  This year, same brewery, different beer, different chocolate and amazing results.

Switchback’s Roasted Red & Honey Caramel

Our Chocolates of Vermont Honey Caramel is made from sweet, locally-harvested honey which is infused into our caramel and then drenched in a semisweet dark chocolate. The honey gives the caramel a complex blend of flavors beyond your typical caramel.

Switchback’s Roasted Red has strong, caramelized malt notes which match up beautifully with the Honey Caramel.  The floral notes in the honey really enhanced and brightened up the rich, hoppy flavor of the Roasted Red.  This is one match you have to try!


Hello, Summer!

Posted on May 4, 2010 2:56 PM by Allison

It’s getting to be that time of year again, I’m afraid.

While we’re all overjoyed to be playing in the dirt, smelling spring’s blossoms and loving the bike rides to ice cream stands after dinner, warmer temperatures and singing robins mark the beginning of a summer shipping schedule at Lake Champlain Chocolates. (In other words: order your chocolates now!)

Here’s the skinny.  From May 10th until June 1st we require that all chocolate shipped outside of New England be shipped via 2-Day Air.  From June 1st until September 30th, we require all chocolate outside of New England to be sent overnight.

Why such strict regulations, you ask?  We would hate for you to pay for an adorable Chocolate Frog, gourmet chocolate truffles or some lovely Mother’s Day Chocolates just to have them melt in transit.  Shortening transit times allows your chocolate to arrive safe and sound (and solid) to be enjoyed in the same high quality condition it leaves our factory in.

So, in a manner of speaking, this is last call and my recommendation is to stock up now.  I’d hate for a Caramel Five Star Bar craving to go unchecked. 

If you do happen to order after May 10th and realize that shipping charges are a little pricier than you were expecting, remember that all of our chocolates are made by seasoned chocolatiers and are carefully packed with tissue paper, ice/gel packs and a personalized card.  We couldn’t bear to send you anything that’s less than perfect.


Easter Pancakes

Posted on March 22, 2010 12:09 PM by Allison

My favorite thing about Easter morning (besides all the Chocolate Bunnies) is brunch.  Mimosas, ham, quiche, pancakes, fruit salad, asparagus with hollandaise – brunch is as big an ordeal as a Thanksgiving dinner for my family.  And while these chocolate chip pancakes are good enough to accompany any decadent brunch dish, I’ll be honest and admit that they are a lazy Sunday morning tradition at home as well.  A small handful of gourmet chocolate chips (and a few slices of bananas for mine) will do the trick.  Make these a part of your Easter tradition along with a chocolate Easter basket from Lake Champlain Chocolates!

3 eggs, beaten
¾ stick butter, melted, plus additional for cooking
1/2  cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips, either milk or dark
1-2 bananas, sliced (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 200º.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs for about a minute until light.  Add melted butter and sugar and stir to combine.  Add flour & milk, alternating three additions each.  Do not over mix.  Add salt and baking powder, and fold in cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate chips.  (If you are using bananas, leave them out until after pouring batter onto griddle).

Melt a tab of butter on griddle or pan over medium-low heat.  Ladle about ¼ cup of batter at a time, waiting until bubbles appear throughout the surface of the ‘cake before flipping.  Add additional butter as needed.  Place pancakes on oven-safe plate in warm oven as they are finished.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and a Placesetting Bunny if desired.

Adapted from Bon Appétit’s Giant Sunday Pancakes.


Valentine's Day $5 Shipping!

Posted on January 26, 2010 3:03 PM by Allison



The season of love is upon us, and you know what that means...chocolate!

Since Valentine's Day is on a Sunday this year, we have a couple suggestions and one big incentive to make sure Valentine's Day chocolates are part of the day. You will have no excuses!
's
Shall I start with the incentive?

Lake Champlain Chocolates is offering $5 flat-rate shipping for any orders between now and February 8th (click on any of the links in this blog for the discount).  So you can splurge and get the biggest box your honey deserves, 'cause shipping will be $5 no matter how much chocolate you buy! 



Now for some suggestions to make this year's Valentine's Day amazing (we know, not all of you need help).

Let her co-workers think you're the greatest and have chocolates sent to her at work.  Being early never hurt anyone.  She'll know you didn't run to the grocery store on the way to pick her up.

Send a heart-shaped box of chocolates to you and hand-deliver it on the fourteenth.  Better yet?  Make it a surprise visit.  I'm sure she'll be much happier to see you than the delivery guy at the front door.

With a card that reads "You deserve an extended Valentine's Day", you can definitely get away with having chocolates sent to her the day after.  Don't worry; we'll take care of the card!

So there you go!  With $5 shipping, you really can't afford to miss this Valentine's Day.  Make it extra special with gourmet chocolates from Lake Champlain Chocolates.


For anyone who’s ever kissed a frog, or for someone who’s already met their prince, consider sending Lake Champlain Chocolates famous Kiss Me Frog – the perfect Valentine chocolate to give to just about anyone.  Need ideas for Valentines gifts for the man in your life?  What about your sister?  Son?  Daughter? These little guys are cute yet sassy and will put a smile on your Valentine’s face no matter what.

Venturing into the factory for a peak of our Valentine chocolates being made, I realized that these gourmet little frogs might be the coolest – and most versatile - Valentine candy out there.  How can you go wrong with an adorable frog handmade of chocolate?

 

The mould for the frog’s body is hand-decorated with dark chocolate accents and then filled halfway full with milk chocolate.  A ride on the magnetic tumbler hardens the chocolate and brings it to the outside of the mould, leaving a hollow center. 

The frogs are lined up on a sheet tray while their feet are prepared.

 

A sturdy base of white chocolate and dark chocolate webbed feet will hold up each frog – held together by a generous dollop of white chocolate and proudly standing tall, awaiting a Valentines chocolate kiss.

 

Don’t forget you can include a personalized message.  Chocolate is much better than boys! for that friend who was dumped right before Valentines Day.  You are my Princess if you think you’ve been a little toad-like lately.  And a simple Kiss Me will never go out of style.

 


I’m the cake-maker in my family.  About a week before someone’s big day, with much anticipation, I make the call.  “What kind of cake would you like this year?”

A few days ago I got the go-ahead on a cheesecake from a very important family member.  I wanted a challenge, so I decided to guild the lilies a bit; add a chocolate crust and maybe some sort of chocolate cheesecake swirls. 

The chocolate crust was made from King Arthur Flour’s Chocolate Graham Crackers Recipe, mixed with a few tablespoons of melted Cabot Butter.  You can make this as thin or as thick a crust layer as you like, I used about 2 ½ cups of crushed crackers, for a ½”-thick bottom layer.  Our Unsweetened Cocoa Powder made the crackers rich and light, and the recipe makes enough for leftovers to nibble on for days after. 

For the cheesecake swirls, I melted a small handful of Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% dark chocolate chips, mixed them with about 1/3 cup of the cheesecake batter and piped out the decoration on top. 

The secret to making a cheesecake that doesn’t crack on top while baking?  Instead of placing your spring form pan directly on the oven rack, place it in a roasting pan filled about halfway with hot water, using foil to wrap the bottom if you’re nervous about water seeping in.  The extra humidity from the water prevents the cake from cracking and makes it extremely moist.

Crust
2 – 3 cups of Chocolate Graham Crackers, either homemade or store-bought
4 tbsp melted butter.

Cheesecake
¾ c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
30 ounces cream cheese (3 ¾ 8-oz packages), softened
1 egg
½ c heavy cream
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract

Chocolate Swirls
2 ounces Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350º.  Generously butter the bottom and sides of a spring form cake pan.

To make the crust, crumb the graham crackers, either with a rolling pin in a plastic bag or with a mortar and pestle.  Mix with melted butter, press an even layer on bottom of buttered pan.  Refrigerate while preparing the cake.

Whisk together sugar and cornstarch.  Combine with softened cream cheese and mix over low speed until combined.  Add egg and heavy cream separately, combining well after each addition.  Add extracts.  Make sure to scrape down sides and bottom of pan to incorporate all ingredients.

In a double-boiler over medium heat or at 30-second intervals in your microwave, melt chocolates, just to liquid – do not over heat.  Add about 1/3 cup cheesecake batter and mix well.

Gently fill the pan with the cheesecake batter, smoothing the top by tapping it on the counter.  Pipe or drizzle the chocolate cheesecake and swirl around if you’d like. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you begin to see very light brown spots on top of the cake.  Cool on a wire rack at least three hours and then refrigerate to chill before serving.


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.