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Bean to Bar

Side Dishes: Lake Champlain launches single-origin chocolate line


Published October 17, 2012 at 7:05 a.m.

As the son of Lake Champlain Chocolates’ founder, Jim Lampman, Eric Lampman lived every kid’s dream: He grew up around chocolate — really good chocolate. But, for all his insider knowledge, he remained curious about its origins and manufacture.

After college, Lampman joined his dad’s company in research and development. It was during a 2009 trip to cocoa farms in the Dominican Republic that his curiosity jelled into an idea: Rather than buying chocolate, why couldn’t LCC buy the beans and start from there? “What we’ve been doing for the past 30 years is being a confectioner,” Lampman says. “I wanted to showcase that we’re now [also] making our own chocolate.”

Two years of sourcing, hand sorting, roasting, winnowing and recipe formulation later, Lampman has just launched Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker, a subbrand of LLC that makes dark chocolate bars from single-origin beans in Vermont. This Saturday, Lampman will team up with Slow Food Vermont for a chocolate-making demonstration and tasting at the Lake Champlain Chocolates Factory Store and Café on Pine Street.

For his initial three-bar line, Lampman sourced beans from Guatemala and Madagascar. The Guatemala 70-percent-cacao bar has smoky, robust flavors laced with notes of black fruit and espresso; the Madagascar 70 percent is brighter and citrusy, while the Madagascar 70 percent Wild Pepper packs a punch of herbal Voatsiperifery pepper from the same island.

At the demo and tasting, Lampman plans to encourage people to “Slow down, taste and think about what you’re eating,” he says. Stop by on October 20, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Lake Champlain Chocolates at 750 Pine Street in Burlington.