We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from November 7th – 13th! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home for more than 35 years:
The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.
From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.
They’re also aware that sourcing matters for products that must come from afar. From the cacao farmers to their customers and every hardworking person and supplier in between, their Fair for Life – Social & Fair Trade Certification goes above and beyond by looking not only at individual ingredients but at company practices as a whole. This means that you can enjoy every bite of chocolate knowing that they are committed to making a positive impact on our local and global communities.
The goal is to bring you their best. To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and fair trade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.
A Family Affair:
Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.
Beyond labeling individual products as “fair trade” — an ongoing process in itself — the entire company is now certified Fair for Life. Fair for Life is a rigorous third-party certification for social accountability and fair trade. Above and beyond fair trade certification, it looks at a company’s practices as a whole, including the ingredients used in its products. LCC undergoes regular audits to ensure every step of its supply chain is socially legit. Not just the cocoa, but every link they have as a business, including their own employees’ working conditions here in Vermont.
Why? Because of their belief that every person in the process should be treated and compensated fairly. And that means everyone in the supply chain — from the farmers who grow and harvest the cocoa, to those who transport it, transform it into chocolate, process your order, package it, and ensure it arrives ready for you to enjoy.
This certification affirms the following:
- A price premium is paid to the cocoa farmers and co-ops.
- Certified products originate from fair trade producer operations.
- LCC is engaged in long-term partnerships and socially responsible trading practices with its suppliers/purveyors.
- LCC respects the labor rights of its own employees, providing good working conditions.
- LCC is a good community citizen and practices environmental responsibility.
B Corp Certification:
Lake Champlain Chocolates recently joined a growing community of more than 2,500 certified B Corporations worldwide who are united under one common goal – to redefine success in business. Rather than focus solely on profits, certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Unlike other certifications that look at individual products, B Corporation evaluates the entire business — assessing the yearly impact on the environment, workers, customers, community, and government. This new type of corporation is purpose-driven to create benefits for all, not just shareholders, working together to be the change we seek in the world.
For Lake Champlain Chocolates these performance standards provide a valuable third-party measurement tool, assuring customers and suppliers that LCC’s business practices meet the highest standards. “Achieving B Corp Certification is the next step towards fulfilling our company’s vision to become the gold standard of chocolate companies in the United States, a respected leader other companies aspire to be,” says Eric Lampman, LCC President. “For more than 35 years, our practices have been guided by one core value – ‘everything must measure up to the chocolate.’ And this includes making a positive impact on our local and global communities by respecting our employees, fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers, and practicing environmental responsibility.”
The folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates would love to show you around! Visit their flagship store to watch master chocolatiers craft extraordinary chocolate right before your eyes. Learn how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and what makes their chocolates so delicious. And while you’re there enjoy the sample of the day, browse the current offerings or sit with friends in their café for hot chocolate, espresso or ice cream!
Tours on the hour
Self-Guided Tours after 3pm
FREE Chocolate Tastings
Saturday & Sunday, 11am to 4pm
750 Pine Street Burlington, VT
Tours fill up quickly in peak months, so call ahead: 802-864-1807