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I’ve found yet another potential item for my holiday shopping list. Yes, it has to do with chocolate. And yes, it has to do with this home spa treatment kick I’ve been on. It’s just that when it comes to holiday gifts for my friends, I feel they should be an indulgent treat, not something they “need”. I’ll let their families get them that. I wanna give chocolate and other feel good stuff. And with that, I present Decadent Chocolate Body Scrub.

The ingredient list of this body scrub reads like something you’d want to eat – organic cocoa powder, pure cane sugar, olive oil, coconut oil, lime, orange, and vanilla essential oils. When I got a sample of this from Lisa Ann Skincare Co, I couldn’t wait to go home and try it. I never really gave any notice to body scrubs before so you can imagine how shocked I was to see how soft it leaves your skin. Amazing! And it smells incredible.

Bundle this up with a Winter Hot Chocolate Tin or a box of Chocolate Truffles for enjoying afterwards and your gift will be their favorite.

 PS - Don't forget, time to get entered to win in our Cookbook and Chocolate Giveaway is winding down. Don't miss out!

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I know, I know. Stop talking about Hot Chocolate but please, indulge me yet again. I want to share this recipe we have on our website that you can make to pair with your Hot Chocolate. It’s a recipe for homemade marshmallows and while it’s not a lot of work, it might be a little messy. But come on, it’s the holidays. Imagine your friends coming over and finding out you made your own marshmallows. And you cut them into cute little shapes with a cookie cutter. They’ll be green with envy. I’ve mentioned this recipe before but I don’t think I’ve ever posted it directly. But regardless, it definitely bears repeating.

Homemade Marshmallows
4 pkg (1 oz.) powdered gelatin
1/3 cup water
1.25 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
3/4 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup corn starch

Sprinkle gelatin in 6oz. cold water, let stand one minute. In heavy sauce pan, bring water, granulated sugar and corn syrup to 240° Whip egg whites to stiff peak, but not dry, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overwhip. Make an Italian Meringue by pouring the cooked sugar down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Do not pour sugar onto beaters or it will splash. Dissolve the gelatin in the hot pans and add to the sugar and egg mixture. Whip until stiff, glossy, and fluffy, about 7 minutes.

Spray the bottom and sides of parchment covered baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray and spread the marshmallow mixture evenly. Do not press down as you spread or the marshmallow will deflate.

Combine confectioners sugar and corn starch. Using a fine mesh sleeve, sprinkle some of the mixture over top of the marshmallow. Reserve remaining mixture for additional sprinklings. Let stand for 2-4 hours to dry. Add more sugar/starch mixture to the top and invert marshmallow. Remove parchment paper and dust bottom with sugar/starch mixture. Cut into squares or shapes with cookie cutters. Toss cut pieces in sugar/starch mixture to coat completely.

Good luck. Have fun. Send pictures!

PS – if you don’t want to make marshmallows but wanna do something fun, try holiday-shaped Peeps on top of your hot cocoa. Snowmen, tree shapes, whatever makes you giggle.


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For those of you nearby or thinking of heading the Burlington, this weekend LCC is hosting a weekend-long celebration for our 25th birthday. As part of the weekend, resident artist and chocolate sculptor Emily Walton Jones will be hosting a free chocolate sculpting demo. What will she be making? Think gingerbread house. Now think 100% chocolate, heck with the gingerbread. And that's what you'll see. She'll have a completed piece on display while she demonstrates how she makes the individual pieces needed to assemble it. By the end of the demo, she'll have made another chocolate house. Yum!

In addition, there will be more than the usual ton of samples out for folks as well as giveaways, gifts with purchase and discounts on some of the seasonal items. While the event is free, seating is limited and it fills up incredibly fast so if you want to come, get here early. Demo starts at 1pm but the samples, giveaways and sale will run all weekend beginning Friday.

I hope to be able to put some of Emily's chocolate making tips up in video form soon so keep checking back. The demos are incredible though so if you're even on the fence about coming, I highly recommend you do. Where else can you see first hand how these beautiful sculptures are made? Hope to see you Saturday!
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Chocolate Santas!

Posted on November 10, 2008 1:27 PM by Leann

 

The holiday season is here and with that, I share with you another little glimpse into the chocolate factory as the production crew is hard at work making milk chocolate Santa Pops. Oddly, they are one of the few holiday chocolates we don’t sell online but you can most likely find them at Whole Foods. (We do have other chocolate santas online, though.) I like to tie them to packages for a little extra treat.

Hope you enjoy the video. Ho Ho Ho!

PS - don't forget to comment on any and all entries before Nov 18 to be entered to win. Win what, you ask?

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OK. Here it is. The first giveaway we’ve done on the blog. And it’s pretty cool. See, when I started gathering gift ideas for my chocoholic friends, one of the items I came across was this clever little cook book – 101 Things To Do With Chocolate, part of the 101 Series by Stephanie Ashcroft.

First, I thought, how can you narrow it down to 101?! Ha! I’m sure it wasn’t easy. There are so many recipes out there that use chocolate and while most of them sound delicious (see earlier posts for some I found that sound just plain odd) many of the recipes I’ve come across are rather complicated. And while that may be all well and good for those rare times when I want to challenge my baking skills, they just don’t work for the everyday.

But, this cookbook has got it. And by it, I mean extremely easy to prepare, easy to make recipes that sound delicous. You know those guilty pleasure kind of things that maybe your best friend’s mom would make when you were a kid. Things like Grasshopper Ice Cream Sandwiches, Banana Chocolate Chip Cake and Peanut Butter Chocolate Lush. Some are completely from scratch – flour, sugar, yeast, etc – and some have shortcuts starting with boxed cake mix, graham crackers or ready made crusts. Between the cover art and the sound of the recipes, it’s got this great 40’s-50’s retro flare that for some reason makes me think of my childhood which is odd since I wasn’t born until the end of the 60’s.

But back to the giveaway.

Here’s the plan. I have two copies of this great little cookbook to giveaway so I’m pairing each with a 4-pak of our Chocolate chips – one package of each type – milk chocolate chips, 54% dark chocolate chips, Sao Thome 70% dark chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. All you have to do to enter is post comments on any/all November blog entries. Each comment will be considered one entry. Since it’s a cookbook and Thanksgiving is coming, we’ll draw for our winners 9am November 18 and I’ll send an e-mail notifying them as such. Once I have the shipping address for the winners, I’ll send them out with their 4-pak of chocolate chips so they’ll be ready for to bake for the holidays.

In the meantime, check it out online. Stephanie has some other great titles to see in the series. And just think, perfect for the holiday gift list. Perfect for stuffing in a stocking. Perfect for giving with a baking kit.

So, enter to win with your blog comments!

PS – I do plan to make some of these recipes as I have a copy of my own and if I’m able to take a photo worth sharing, I’ll definitely post. Might even share the recipe but not too many as I don’t want to totally ruin the surprise of what’s in the cookbook.

PPS - You can always register for the LCC E-mail Newsletter and maybe win free chocolate that way too!
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Stop the Presses! LCC is in the NY Times!

Posted on November 3, 2008 8:26 AM by Leann
If you didn’t believe me when I told you Burlington, VT was a cool place to come visit, now I have proof. The NY Times Travel section ran an article called 36 Hours in Burlington, VT where they chronicled their 1 ½ day visit to the Queen City. And guess what. They included a nice mention of Lake Champlain Chocolates. Apparently, while wandering down Church Street – Burlington’s downtown – they stopped in and had some hot chocolate and truffles. And it was memorable enough they saw fit to include it in their travel journal. Very cool!

I have to confess, I saw it posted online Friday with a byline date of 11/2 so I knew it was coming. I even did a choco-tweet on the LCChocolates Twitter page. But there’s something about opening up a newspaper or magazine and seeing it in black and white. It’s uber-cool when it’s the NY Times. And if you didn’t see it this weekend, you can still check it out online at NYTimes.com

Now, on to some new things. Beginning tomorrow, we’re doing a giveaway right here on the blog. Will it include chocolate? Yes! Will it include anything other than chocolate? Yes! Will I like it? Yes! Ok, now stop. I’m not telling you until tomorrow so stop trying to get hints. I’m terrible at keeping secrets so don’t try to dig it out of me. I might give it away and ruin the suspense. You’ll just have to wait.

See ya tomorrow!
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How many times can I say how much I like my job? I can’t help it. It’s true. Not only do I get to spend my time telling people about the yummy chocolate but today, we were all trick-or-treated by the company. Each employee came in to work to find a goodie bag with some really great Halloween treats. It’s such a nice thing to find little gifts at your desk. I can’t even tell you. You’d think we’d be over it all by now but it just never gets old. I saw that LCC bag on my desk and for an instant, I was a kid again with a sweet Halloween candy haul.

So, let me tell you what I got. There was a Halloween Cauldron with a white chocolate ghost, chocolate squares and one of my beloved hazelnut praline pumpkins; there was a 9-piece signature square autumn gift box which has a mix of milk and dark squares with pretty fall images on the labels; there was a Nuts & Raisin Pumpkin Box which is full of milk and dark chocolate-covered almonds and raisins; a milk chocolate pumpkin face lollipop and a 5-piece autumn truffle box that has amongst its contents the fabulous Spiced Pumpkin Truffle. Doesn’t it all look so good in the photo? Honestly, that’s the chocolate from my bag. I took it all out so I could snap a pic and show you.

It’s just so much fun. And in a time when there is so much negative news about the economy, nice touches like a surprise Halloween treat from your employer really make you feel good. I wish I could share them with you all because I know how good they’re going to be but since I can’t, I shall send sweet autumn vibes your way. Can you feel them?

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The Witching Hour is Near...

Posted on October 29, 2008 3:02 PM by Leann
We’re merely two days out from Halloween? How many bags of trick or treat candy have you bought? How many have you eaten? I finally learned not to buy my trick or treats until just before the big day. My waistline can’t take it. This year, however, I’m giving extra special treats to my favorite little ghouls and boys.  The Halloween cauldron. I just love the little white ghost.

Whatever you do for your little monsters, I hope you have fun. And remember to take lots of pictures!

PS – New Calorie Amnesty Rule - calories from Halloween candy eaten on Halloween don’t count. Happy Halloween!

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I know you’re sick of hearing me talk about the cold weather here in VT. Believe me, I’m tired of talking about it and it’s only October. But we got a fair amount of snow in nearby areas and like I said a moment ago, it’s only October. I do, however, have a secret passion when it comes to the cold weather. I like to either grab a chocolate truffle or a cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream, of course) and a good book and lock myself away in a hot bath. I get to warm up, relax and not have to share my chocolate. So I was pretty excited when I got two things in the mail recently that only added to the escape. And now I’m adding them to the list of things I might give some of my chocoholic friends for Christmas along with their favorite chocolates.

First, I got this cool Chocolate Masque by a company called Hemloq. Not only is it paraben-, sulfite- and cruelty- free, it smells incredible and feels awesome. Crazy to think chocolate can be as good for the outside of your body as it is for your soul. Exfoliate, lessen wrinkles and moisturize all with chocolate? I’m in! Just be sure you have some chocolates handy when you use it so you’re not tempted to eat it. What’s even cooler is both this masque and our Organic Chocolate Truffles 6pc holiday box were listed on The Gift Therapists’ Top 20 Gifts for 2008. Ha! Cool!


The other item I got also lent itself to my at-home chocolate spa retreat. It’s called a Scandle Candle but don’t let the name fool you. It’s this crazy cool Strawberry Chocolate Truffle-scented candle (also available in other scents) that not only smells awesome but it melts at a temperature just 2 degrees above body temperature. This is part of its design as you’re supposed to use the melted candle as a daily moisturizer and  for manicures and pedicures. Just like going to the spa! And since it’s also 100% natural and cruelty free, you can feel good about it. So first it makes the room smell good and then you can moisturize and smell good. I think I’m going with the travel size for stocking stuffers.

So, that’s today’s silver lining to the cold weather. You can create an at-home chocolate spa retreat gift for your friends with a box of truffles, Hemloq’s Chocolate Masque and a Strawberry Chocolate Truffle Scandle Candle. They’ll like it better than the sweater you got them last year. And while you’re at it, make one up for yourself.

PS – Wait until next week, I might have another spa-themed chocolate item to add to the list. Man, this is fun!

 

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Warning, this video and blog entry may induce severe hot chocolate craving. Watch at your own risk!


The weather keeps calling for snow here in VT and the sky is so dark at 10am that it makes you almost shiver. I guess that’s why the folks working at our factory store café are making tons of hot chocolate for people. And lucky for me, my desk is literally just yards from there so I can easily slip out for a nice little warmer and pick me up anytime. And that’s exactly what I did yesterday. A cup of hot chocolate just sounded yummy.

As I stood there waiting my turn, I watched as they made cup after cup for customers. Now, usually I order the Traditional or the Aztec but when a few people in a row ordered the New World Hot Chocolate, I took notice. I never realized how much chocolate goes into it or just how rich and thick it is. See, the New World Hot Chocolate is our darkest at 70% cocoa content. And what’s more is it’s actually pure ground chocolate as opposed to cocoa so it’s incredibly chocolatey.

So, while I watched them make up these cups of steaming hot chocolates, I realized they only offer them in a smaller size. When I asked why, they explained that it’s so rich, a small is really the perfect amount. After a few cups being made, I thought this might be something you’d like to watch. Seeing them steam the milk and chocolate, pour it out and add the homemade whipped cream just looked so good. With that, I pulled out my handy little video camera and taped it just for you. And if you aren’t craving a cup of hot chocolate after watching, you are superhuman.

By the way, for those of you on a diet or just simply watching your caloric intake, you can make any of our hot chocolate with skim milk and reduce the calories a little. Enjoy!

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