Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Taste of Vermont for the Holidays

Looking for a small chocolate box to give for the holidays? Know someone who was originally from Vermont and perhaps moved and would appreciate a taste of home? Do you like the flavors of honey, caramel, mint, nuts, fruits, and maple? Then this 8 piece box of Chocolates of Vermont from Lake Champlain Chocolates might be the gift you are looking for. I got this box from Lake Champlain through the FoodieBlogRoll program that we are part of here on The Chocolate Cult. Let's take a look at what is inside, shall we?

As you can see the box contains fairly large pieces of chocolate in four flavors that we'll look at separately in a moment. The ingredients are relatively pure, I only see rice syrup and coconut oil as potentially questionable to include. Some of the ingredients are organic -- rice syrup, and soybean lecithin are listed as organic.  It does have potential allergens as well -- milk, soybean, and tree nuts are mentioned specifically. Three pieces = 1 serving of 200 calories so really not bad at all for the size of these but like most chocolate it has a lot of sugar so be wary of that if you are cutting back.

Unwrapping the chocolates we can see that they vary not just in terms of color of foil wrapper shape but also images on them help identify each one. Inside the lid as I hope you notice, they show each variety so if you have a tree nut allergy like my husband, you can simply avoid piece that have that in them and enjoy the rest. I really wish all boxes of chocolate made it so easy to figure out what each piece is simply for the sake of food allergies, don't you? Now let's look at each variety in greater depth. Remember I take my time and rinse my mouth with water between flavors. Focus on each one and enjoy, don't rush your chocolate experiences.

We'll start with the Honey Caramel has a beehive and a couple of flowers on the top of it as well as a few drops of what looks like honey that must have come out of it that nearly matches the gold foil wrapper. This is a shiny dark chocolate and has a strong honey and caramel scent with the dark cocoa essence. It makes a loud snap when I take a bite. Inside the honey caramel is thick and not sticky but also only on one side of the chocolate. Where the caramel is, it adds a smooth sweetness, not overpowering or intense, that blends very well with the dark chocolate. The dark chocolate on its own is clearly dark but not bitter, I'm guessing 60% perhaps. I liked it a lot.

Next we have the oval shaped, gold foil wrapped, Evergreen Mint that has a mountain lake or stream scene including an evergreen tree and a crescent moon. This has a dark cocoa scent with a very herbal mint undercurrent when I breathe in a whiff of it. It makes a loud snap then a crunching sound when I take a bite and I discover little white, crunchy pieces that offer tiny bursts of more intense, cool mint that intensifies the dark cocoa. This seem darker than the previous Honey Caramel but I'm betting it is the same cacao content whatever that might be. I often find that mint intensifies cocoa for me. The little white pieces are spread throughout, not many of them at all, just enough to add more variation in texture, sound, and a flavors. The cool sensation lives in my mouth along with the cocoa flavor for several minutes and I can feel my mind feel more open and less stressed after eating. I love this one!

The Green Mountain looks like a mountain, doesn't it? Can you see the detail along the sides in our photo once I unwrapped it from the dark bronze foil? I notice that this does not seem to be as dark of a chocolate as the other three. This is the one chocolate that has tree nuts and fruit -- almonds and currants to be precise. I get a hint of the currants when I take a deep sniff of the piece but primarily it is a creamy milk chocolate fragrance. The uniqueness of this shape makes it a challenge to eat so I bit off the top of the mountain with difficulty to find it primarily this creamy milk chocolate. Under that were some fairly large pieces of almonds, unsweetened, just simple almonds that added a good crunch to it but didn't distract from the milk chocolate. The currants are in between two layers of the almonds and they add a burst of sweetness and chewiness that blends well with the almonds and milk chocolate. The result is a eating experiences that blends well in terms of flavors and has three distinctive textural levels as well. Very interesting and tasty.

Finally we have the Maple Crunch which is round like the first one but wrapped in a copper foil and with a maple branch and leaf on the top. This has a strong maple and dark chocolate fragrance when I take a bit sniff of it. From the bottom I can see a lump of what is inside so I'm betting this like the Honey Caramel will not have an evenly spread out filling under the dark chocolate shell but I won't know until I take a bite. The chocolate shell makes a loud snap when I take a bit and inside, yup, I guessed right, the hard almost brittle or toffee like center is really off to one side. It makes a very loud snap when I bite into it and continues to crunch with each chew though it also gets sticky with each chew and adheres to my teeth! The flavor of this maple crunch is more buttery than maple really and it blends fairly well with the dark chocolate. The biggest issue is that the crunch part easily separates from the chocolate so you are really left with two different flavor experiences.

There you have it, Sisters and Brothers in Chocolate, a potential gift for the Vermont lover in your life this holiday season. Have you had the Vermont collection from Lake Champlain Chocolates? If so, leave a comment and let us know what you thought about it and if you'd give this as a gift or would love to get one as a gift.

6 comments:

Unknown said...

Thank you as always for your allergen information. That caramel one sounds great, though it wouldn't like me back, but I feel like I get to experience ones like that through you.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Thank you. I hope that when I talk about allergens that it does help people make better decisions. Sometimes it should common sense such as milk chocolate contains dairy but something might be called a nut cluster that has peanuts or cashews or (sadly) nothing nut at all but artificial flavor.

Cerise said...

Yum. These are so beautiful. I love reading all the details, I can almost taste the chocolates with you!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Oh, good, I'm glad my writing is clear enough to help you get a sense of them. That is my goal so you all can decide if you'd want to check out something on your own. Why spend your money for something you may not like if you can get opinions and descriptions first?

Doreen Pendgracs said...

Lucky you to be able to try these chocolate, TammyJo. I remember getting in touch with Lake Champlain chocolates quite some time ago, and as they don't ship outside of the US, they weren't even interested in my global chocolate project! I'd call that tunnel vision.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Doreen, I only lucked out because I'm part of the foodieblogroll and this was a promotional giveaway through them. A lot of companies don't trust bloggers or reviewers when it comes to chocolate. That's why I'm always so grateful to those that send us samples to test and write about. I take the task seriously for our readers and for those brands.