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Lake Champlain Chocolates: Tastes of Vermont

By Courtney Clark

Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington has decades of experience in the chocolate industry. Since 1983, the company has been striving to provide the best chocolates around by using local ingredients and globally-grown beans. Further, with its success, Lake Champlain Chocolates has begun to create its own bean-to-bar program.

The chocolate company likes to say that its history began with a dare. In 1983, Jim Lampman worked at the Ice House Restaurant, where he would buy chocolates for his staff for the holidays. One day, the pastry chef commented that he could make better chocolates- so Lampman dared him to do so. According to the website, "the result was a batch of hand-rolled truffles so smooth and creamy" that Lampman "knew they were onto something." Within one year, Lake Champlain Chocolates was opened.

The chocolate company works to stay involved in the local community. The chocolates are made in Burlington by Lake Champlain's shores. According to Meghan Fitzpatrick, Vermont is "more than just an address" for these chocolatiers. The location has inspired them "to take a craftsman's approach to chocolate: creativity, patience and mastery." This approach is largely owed to the decades-old local partnerships that have been cultivated. Nearby agricultural producers such as Monument Dairy Farms and Happy Valley Orchard provide fresh cream, butter, maple syrup, apples, and honey, all of which are used in the chocolates. What was the inspiration for going local? Lake Champlain partners want to become experts, not only in chocolate, but what goes into the chocolates and where the ingredients originate.

Though it has strong ties in the community, Lake Champlain Chocolates also understands and appreciates how chocolate is grown globally. The new bean-to-bar program, Fitzpatrick says, is "true to Vermont's DIY spirit." The chocolate that is made is created with the Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker. The beans are sent to Vermont from Guatemala and other regions where cocoa grows. The beans are sourced directly, but Vermont is where they are roasted, cracked, and winnowed. The process continues with grinding, refining, and conching while organic cane sugar is added. Once the chocolate is tempered and moulded, the finished product is an award-winning batch that celebrates "a true taste of place."

As the website explains, Vermont has been Lake Champlain Chocolates' inspiration from the beginning, from the locally-sourced ingredients to even the appearances of the chocolates. The designs of sugar maple leaves, a beehive, a lake, and a mountain evoke the state's natural beauty. Chocolate-lovers will enjoy the all-natural taste with a chocolate that makes "every bite a voyage to Vermont."

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About The Author

Courtney Clark graduated from Flagler College with a BA in English and Creative...

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