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Each winter, Burlington hosts a WinterFest where everyone gets out and celebrates the season. Why not? It beats being stuck inside all day and quite honestly, it’s right about now that Cabin Fever starts to set in. Hosted over the course of the weekend, activities include snow sculpting, ice carving, jumping in the freezing cold lake, music, food and lots of other family activities.

 


As part of the festivities, Lake Champlain Chocolates will be hosting a bit of  indoor fun where families and friends can come to warm up and have a good time. So, if you’re in the area Saturday, February 7 from noon until 4pm, stop in and say hello. There will be chocolate demonstrations, chocolate samplings, a hot chocolate bar and even Valentines crafts for kids.

 



One of the highlights of the day will be with Chocolate sculptor Emily Walton Jones hand crafting and personalizing Heart Throbs – large dark chocolate hearts filled with raspberry truffle ganache. You can also see her latest Valentine-themed chocolate sculptures. It’s fun, it’s free and it’s warm so stop on by when you’re out and about enjoying Winterfest.

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How We Make Our Maple Toffee

Posted on January 23, 2009 2:21 PM by Leann

The other day, I was lucky enough to catch them making the maple toffee used in our Chocolates of Vermont Maple Crunch. Made with Vermont maple syrup and fresh butter, it’s one of our top chocolates and also ranks high on my list but I’d never seen it being made. It was great to watch and it smelled incredible. I guess I never really thought about what went into the making of it.

With that being said, I did my best to capture it on video to share with you. I’ve got to fess up about something though. I am not the most technically savvy person in the room so in the course of taping, I managed to miss one of the coolest parts – the pour. Once the toffee reaches the correct temp, it’s taken off the fire and wheeled over to the cooling table on this neat hoist. They crank it up high and then pour it out and it’s just glorious. I’ll try to catch it another time but until then, enjoy!

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Free Hot Chocolate Tasting This Weekend!

Posted on January 14, 2009 9:59 AM by Leann
Many of you live too far to benefit from this but for those of you in the neighborhood this weekend, LCC is hosting a FREE Hot Chocolate Tasting at the Factory Store and Cafe. Accompanied by live music from local musician Robert Resnik, can you think of a better event for a sub-sero weekend? Free Hot Chocolate sampling, free entertainment and something to do to get the kids out of the house? Perfect. Did I mention it's free? And in this economy, who doesn't love that?!

It's going to be from noon until 4pm with four Hot Chocolates available for tasting:
Traditional - a classic chocolate flavor - watery hot chocolate memories of childhood be damned!
Aztec - spicy with cayenne, cinnamon, and vanilla - a staff (and personal) fav!
Old World - made with pure chocolate shavings (54% cocoa) - and recently featured in Country Living magazine, see previous blog entry
New World - pure ground chocolate in the European tradition (70% cocoa content) - read that as Wicked Dark and Wicked Good!

Along with the Hot Chocolate Tasting, there are always chocolate samples placed throughout the store. Yesterday, I was able to snag a sample of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Bar. A treat since samples of it usually go FAST!

So, if you're free this Saturday and feeling up for trying a few different Hot Chocolates, hearing some live music and keeping warm with other nice people, come on by. You won't be sorry. I promise!

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It couldn't have been timed better. Country Living Magazine included a nice little write up about Lake Champlain Chocolates Old World Drinking Chocolate just as the temps here in the Northeast are about to drop. If you ever wondered why we had to learn integers in grade school, it's so we could tell the temp in VT in January when it hits the negatives. It's one of the joys of living in Burrrrrrrlington! The other is easy access to great Hot Chocolate.


If you already received the February issue of Country Living, turn to the "Tastings" section on page 120. Listed under the header of Foods By Mail is our Old World Hot Chocolate. They got the name a little confusted but we all know what they're talking about, right? There's even a couple pages just before it with a variety of yummy looking chocolate recipes including Chocolate Waffles, Chocolate Tea Cake and Chocolate Chunk and Cherry Cookies. Check them out. And if you make any of them, send some along to me. Please. 

Keep warm!

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Maxim Magazine and our Chocolate Bars

Posted on January 7, 2009 3:10 PM by Leann

Wow. More media coverage. It’s about one of our Five Star Bar and this time it’s not a women’s magazine not that we don’t love them. We do! It’s just kind of cool to be noticed by a guys magazine sometimes too. Mind you, this isn’t just ANY guys magazine. This is one of THE guy magazines. Call it racy, saucy and maybe even playfully tasteless at times, that’s ok but ask nearly any guy if he reads Maxim and 9 out of 10 will say yes. (#10 is probably lying.)

So, getting back to the coverage, Penn Gillette of Penn and Teller fame counts down his top 10 favorite candy bars. While we didn’t make #1, it’s ok. If you read the article, you’ll see he has a full gamut of reasons why he picked what he picked and some have nothing to do with the quality or taste of the bars but more a sentimental tug and who can argue with that. That’s ok because his comments on our Caramel Five Star Bar are taste related and we’re pretty darn proud!

Check it out at your local newsstand. It’s in the January issue. There’s even a nice little mention further in about Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort, of which we are the official chocolate. Yeah Vermont! We’re doing something that’s getting some notice! Onward and upward.

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Happy New Year! And now to the Resolutions...

Posted on December 31, 2008 8:44 AM by Leann

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. (insert groan here.) But let’s try something new. Let’s try making resolutions that we have a fighting chance of keeping for more than 5 days. And to help with that, let’s try making resolutions that inspire us and maybe even others. Resolutions that reward us and fulfill our lives rather than suck the life from us.

Here’s my working list. Feel free to copy, expand from or create new. I’ll let you know how I do.

1) Be a localvore for an entire day (maybe once a month/week/once in awhile) and only eat and drink locally grown/produced food and drinks. The benefit? Support the local economy, expand my horizons and learn a bit more about my own backyard.

2) Make an extra effort to reconnect with a friend, be it near or far, in person, on the phone or via IM - whatever it takes. And by whatever means are available. The benefit? To fix severed connections, to think beyond just myself, to maybe spark a fun moment in someone I care abouts life. What’s not a benefit?

3) Say yes to something that usually gets a pre-programmed no. Before I rule something out as too hard, too boring, too not me, I’m going to give it a new review and perhaps say yes. The benefit? Step out of my comfort zone, be pleasantly surprised, achieve, fail, have the experience.

4) Resurrect old dreams. I can’t say how frequently I’ll do this but I can say I’ll do it with a sense of urgency. The benefit? To remember what I once wanted but gave up, to learn more about myself, to be able to let go of things with peace of mind that can only come from knowing you really tried, to maybe have a dream come true. Who doesn’t want that?

Happy New Year!

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Martha Stewart Picks Our Chocolate... Again!

Posted on December 29, 2008 2:11 PM by Leann

Last winter, Martha Stewart’s Body + Soul gave us thumbs up on our Organic Milk Chocolate. This winter, they’ve reviewed our Organic Hot Chocolate and once again, it’s all positive. In fact, they said “One taste of the Vermont-based Chocolatier’s sweet blend puts you in touch with your inner kid.” As employees here at LCC, that’s music to our ears. But to you, the consumer, we hope you’ll find it either reinforces what you already knew or perhaps it's incentive to give it a shot.

This issue of Body + Soul is February 2009 so it might not be on the newsstand at your favorite bookseller yet but keep an eye out for it. There are some other great items in it as well including a great looking recipe for Rustic Shrimp Stew. See ya in the funny pages!


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Merry Christmas - Easy to Assemble!

Posted on December 24, 2008 8:33 AM by Leann
It's here. What an odd juxtaposition the journey to Christmas is. In the same fashion that the holidays race up on us, they seem to take forever. Chalk it up to the magic of the season.

And while the phrase "Easy to Assemble" is striking fear in the hearts of many and drudging up nightmarish memories for others, consider this posting the reclamation of the phrase. This Christmas, apply that phrase to Christmas itself. Merry Christmases don't just happen, they're made and each one of us contains within us the capacity to do so. You don't need to go out for hours in the snow looking for the perfect gift. You needn't bake for days to ensure you have every type of cookie available. You ought not worry about past holiday transgressions with family members. Nope. A Merry Christmas truly is Easy to Assemble.

First, let go of any sense of failure you're harboring because you ran out of money or didn't get the iPod in the right color.

Then, sit for a moment and look at the tree, the lights or simply reread the greetings in those Christmas cards you received from friends far away.

Next, pick up the phone and call someone you love and wish them a joyous season. This is a tricky step as you really need to mean it, even if they make you mad sometimes!

In this fourth step, grab your loved ones, turn off all the distractions and for even just a few moments, remind them how much you love them and remember why.

Finally, breathe and let Christmas absorb into you through all your senses - the sounds, sights, smells, feel and flavor.

See, a Merry Christmas IS Easy to Assemble.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Posted on December 22, 2008 12:12 PM by Leann
Admittedly, I don't know a great deal about Hanukkah other than what one picks up from having friends who celebrate the holiday. However, I was lucky enough to spend an evening with a friend's family as they enjoyed what they explained was a traditional dinner during the holiday season. Between the ceremony, the wonderful food and the sense of mystery (being on the outside of it all), I feel very blessed for the experience.

If you and your family are celebrating Hanukkah, here's to a warm and blessed season. Happy Hanukkah.

 


OK, first things first. After gathering all the names of all the comments for the December Giveaway, I turned to my trusty sidekicks to pick a winner. And the winner is…Laura Schofield. (Laura, I’ll be sending you an e-mail shortly!) Thank you, everyone, for your great comments, suggestions, ideas, jokes and wonderful points of view! My favorite thing about the contests is getting to hear from all of you. Look for a new contest in January! And a special thank you to Donna over at Spatulas, Corkscrews and Suitcases for the extra shout out to her readers who found their way here. If you haven’t checked out her blog, head on over there. It’s great!

And now, onto something new.

With so much going on, I felt it was time for another walk about in the chocolate factory. Perhaps I should have done this earlier in the day when everyone was running about making all sorts of things but that seemed too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel (not sure who does that or where the saying came from but kind of grody!)

So without further ado, here is what I was able to hunt down to share with you. Incidentally, in case you didn’t think we were lucky enough to be in a chocolate factory ALL day, you’ll be green with envy when you see how nicely our co-workers made eveyone cookies and brownies and an entire gallon of hot chocolate which was nearly gone by time I got to take this pic.

  
 


Allyson baked the raspberry bars and brownies, Retail provided the delicious Traditional Hot Chocolate and Ellen made the oatmeal cookies. All that before 11am. I love this place!


Here, milk chocolate Green Mountains sit unwrapped ready to be doled out as samples in the Factory Store. Gotta love those Chocolates of Vermont. Incidentally, of the four flavors, this is the only one that comes in milk chocolate. The Evergreen Mint, Honey Caramel and Maple Toffee all come in dark chocolate.


Mmmmm! Peppermint bark made with white and dark chocolate waits to go out to the retail store. Only made this time of year and only available in our company stores, it's a seasonal favorite and such a treat.


Half way through the process of making malt balls. Panned in-house by our chocolatiers, there's something so good about a freshly made malt ball. Hard to resist grabbing a handful.

OK, that's all I have for today. Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest. Don't forget to watch for the next one right after the new year.

 
 
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