Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chocolates of Vermont from Lake Champlain Chocolates

I first discovered Lake Champlain chocolate when visiting my family several years ago at Christmastime.  At the time, I thought they were just a cute local chocolatier (my family lives in New Hampshire, their factories are next door in Vermont).  Since then, I've seen their chocolates nationwide, even at my local Whole Foods here in San Francisco.  I didn't realize they had grown so much!

I liked the basic chocolate that my mom gave me back then, so I was excited when I recently attended a wedding that had Lake Champlain's "Chocolates of Vermont" signature chocolate series as party favors strewn about the tables.  I scooped up one of each variety, each printed with a Vermont inspired motif.  They were good chocolates, and I'd gladly consume more of them.
Maple Crunch.
“Maple Crunch blends the iconic flavor of real Vermont maple syrup with a crisp, golden buttercrunch center — cooked in small batches, poured onto cooling tables, then hand-cut and drenched in pure dark chocolate. Custom-designed with a pattern of sugar maple leaves and wrapped in copper foil”

This is their best seller.

The dark chocolate was the same good, smooth, flavorful dark chocolate that I know them for.  Inside was a toffee-like chunk, not centered in my piece, so almost half of my piece was actually just pure chocolate.  The toffee did have a slight maple flavor, but I could have easily mistaken it as regular toffee.

Enjoyable, and I liked the mix of dark chocolate and sweet buttercrunch.  My second favorite.
Evergreen Mint.
“Deep luscious 54% dark chocolate with just the right hit of cool peppermint crunch. Crafted in small batches from the original recipe, custom-cast with a scene of an evergreen tree by a moonlit lake and wrapped in white-gold foil “

The chocolate base was again very smooth and creamy, but not as intense as I'd like.  Dark chocolate yes, but only 54%.  The peppermint came in the form of little tiny chunks of candy inside.  They added crunch, but not as much mint flavor as I'd like.  I would have preferred a more intense experience all around, darker chocolate, more mint flavor.

My least favorite of the series, and I wouldn't get it again.

Update: I had another, and this time, since I knew what to expect, I liked it much more.  I really liked the quality of the chocolate, it was smooth and had a deep flavor.  The mint still wasn't as minty as I'd like from a mint chocolate, but I appreciated the crunch from the chunks of peppermint, and the little pop of minty freshness they provided.

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Honey Caramel.

"Pure Vermont honey, kettle-cooked with sugars and fresh cream until golden, then cooled and placed by hand in a bed of rich dark chocolate. Custom-designed with a beehive-and-wildflowers motif and wrapped in yellow-gold foil."

The dark chocolate coating was quite nice, smooth, flavorful, fairly complex.  Inside was a surprise, as I mistakenly thought I had grabbed a Maple Crunch.  I read the description of that one, and expected something like a Butterfinger inside, but instead, it was more like toffee.  A vary hard chunk of sweet in the center.  I didn't taste any maple.  My notes at the time said it was still tasty, but not maple-y to me at all.  And then, when I went to write this up, I realized what went wrong.  I had the Honey Caramel, not the Maple Crunch!  Aha! Yes, it was a toffee like filling inside, and there wasn't any maple.  It all made much more sense :)  This was my favorite piece.
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