Lake Champlain Chocolates Goes Vegan for Valentine's Day | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Lake Champlain Chocolates Goes Vegan for Valentine's Day


Published January 25, 2021 at 5:06 p.m.

Vegan truffles from Lake Champlain Chocolates - COURTESY OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN CHOCOLATES
  • Courtesy of Lake Champlain Chocolates
  • Vegan truffles from Lake Champlain Chocolates
Is your Valentine a vegan? Good news: Lake Champlain Chocolates launched its first-ever line of vegan chocolate truffles this week, expanding its offerings for plant-based partners, pals or paramours just in time for one of the chocolate industry's biggest days of the year.

As online sales grew during the pandemic, the Burlington-based company noticed more customers seeking out vegan products, Lake Champlain Chocolates' Meghan Fitzpatrick told Seven Days.

"That's been one of the big traffic drivers, but we just had our bars and our dark chocolate snack bites," she said. "We wanted to offer something a little more indulgent and luscious and delicious."

Over the summer, innovation and product development manager Kate Brown started experimenting with making a truffle — the confection that the company was founded on in 1983 — without the usual heavy cream and butter. With the wide array of non-dairy products available now, Brown quickly landed on a coconut-based recipe.

"Even just a couple years ago, the process of developing this product would have been a lot more difficult than it is now," Fitzpatrick said.

The square truffles come in two flavors — dark chocolate and red raspberry — both made with fair-trade chocolate and organic coconut cream. They're available in six-piece ($18) and 16-piece ($48) gift boxes online and in all three of the company's retail stores, where they're also sold by the piece.

"Truffles are our top seller for Valentine's Day," Fitzpatrick said. "So it seems like a really perfect time to offer another alternative."

On January 15, Lake Champlain Chocolates issued a voluntary recall on select milk chocolate products — including several of its popular Five Star Bars — after a customer reported finding brittle plastic pieces in a finished product, according to the recall notice. "To date, no consumers have reported adverse health effects due to this contamination," the notice stated.

Fitzpatrick said the recall won't have a major effect on production for the busy Valentine's Day season.

"It luckily has happened at a time where we will be capable of  fulfilling orders and having plenty of safe product on the shelves, ready to purchase," she explained. "Corrective measures have been put in place and our production team is working hard to refill orders  and get products like the Five Star Bars back on the shelf as quickly as possible."