Monday, April 10, 2017
Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory!
Scott and I first tried Lake Champlain chocolates when we were living in Virginia a few years ago. A local natural foods store near us carried their Five Star bars, which are miniature candy bars. They are expensive, but delicious! For some reason, we ended up looking up the Lake Champlain chocolate factory at some point and discovering that they offer free factory tours. So when we decided to go to Burlington, VT, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to go. I checked all the information about days and times for tours, and we made sure to get there a little early because the website said tours were first come, first serve.
Only we got to the factory and immediately saw a sign that there were no tours today. Scott asked an employee who said that they had stopped giving tours the week before Easter because they were usually so busy. He told us we were welcome to watch the chocolates being made in front of the glass window and to watch the video that was on continuous loop.
Fortunately, one of the other employees decided that they weren't really that busy at the moment, and came over to explain some of the machines and processes to us. She also brought us free samples, which, let's face it, are a highlight of going on tours of this kind.
I'm not terribly knowledgeable about factories generally, and I was under the impression that just about every process had been automated at this point, so I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people doing work behind the glass. The employee who came over to talk to us also told us that this was the only factory for Lake Champlain chocolates, so I was also impressed by the output of a fairly small factory. Visiting the factory gave me some insight as to why the chocolates are somewhat pricey--the company is paying actual human beings to do a fair amount of the work, and it's a small operation. I don't foresee being able to buy Lake Champlain chocolates for all of my chocolate needs (ha!), but I can feel happier about the occasional splurge. This is a lucky thing since we did splurge a bit today, reasoning that there was a much better selection at the factory store than there would be back home.
This was not part of our splurge, but I'm curious which kid will receive this ginormous $99 chocolate bunny. It seems like it would fuel sugar-induced bad behavior for the next several weeks. There was also an even larger chocolate bunny that you could buy raffle tickets to win.