After a yearlong, multimillion-dollar renovation of the former Sondik Supply building at 716 Pine Street, the staff of Lake Champlain Chocolates will unveil their new culinary center on Thursday, January 23.
The colorful, 45-seat South End Kitchen at Lake Champlain Chocolates anchors the 8,500-square-foot space. It’s flanked on either side by an airy education kitchen and a glassed-in production area for Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker.
“It’s a unique space, and it was fun to take an old warehouse” and transform it, said Jim Lampman, LCC’s founder, who worked closely with his son, Eric, and architect John Anderson on the project. Architect Donna Church of studioblue Architecture created the design.
Chef Sarah Langan has crafted a subtly French-inflected locavore menu for the café, which will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Egg sandwiches, quiche, granola, hot cereal and a frittata are on the morning menu, as are doughnuts and pastries created by pastry chef Nicole Maddox.
At lunchtime, diners can nosh on open-faced sandwiches — aka tartines — including one topped with Tuscan white-bean spread, cucumbers, radish and watercress. Also on offer are pressed sandwiches, such as one with ham, Brie, arugula and mostarda; a trio of salads, including frisée with lardons and a poached egg; a Cabot Clothbound Cheddar soufflé; and daily specials.
The coffee-and-ice-cream café housed in the current LCC headquarters next door will move to South End Kitchen, which will also serve an array of desserts such as chocolate pots de crème.
Blue Bandana, the bean-to-bar arm of LCC, was founded by Eric Lampman in 2009. Though he quipped that Blue Bandana probably seemed like a “hobby” in its early stages, Lampman is passionate about sourcing Fair Trade beans from cacao-producing areas in Madagascar and elsewhere. “Getting high-quality beans is the root of what we’ve been trying to do,” he said on a recent day as chocolate maker Nick Hadsel-Mares hand-sorted Guatemalan cacao beans destined for Bandana’s bright-yellow cacao-bean roaster.
Last week, Lampman received sweet vindication of his work when he was chosen from among 1,366 entrants to win a 2014 Good Food Award.
On the other side of the culinary center from Blue Bandana, a lime-green teaching kitchen is filled with wood and steel standing tables for demos and classes. Author Molly Stevens will christen the education space on Friday, January 24, with a roasting and braising class, followed the next day by a session on savory winter tarts. On Sunday, January 26, a Slow Food Local Cheese Tasting will feature cheese makers from Shelburne Farms (Kate Turcotte) and Spring Brook Farm (Jeremy Stephenson), as well as cheese expert and author Jeff Roberts.
“This [teaching kitchen] allows people to get really hands on, and for us to share our knowledge,” said LCC marketing director Cathy Wisloski.
Now local professionals can look forward to breakfast meetings featuring South End’s maple lattes and bowls of hot quinoa with roasted pears and almonds.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Sweet ... and Savory"