Thursday, August 18, 2016

high summer





This summer has been challenging for farmers and mushroom foragers, what with a lack of rain punctuated by short but intense storms, all on top of a dry winter that didn't leave a lot of snow melt for the soil to drink in. We are inspired by not only our local farmers' fruits and produce, but also what our forests and fields provide, watching and waiting for wild foods to appear.

This past week we saw some much welcome rainfall followed by mushrooms sprouting up all over, so we made a fresh batch of our porcini rosemary dark chocolate truffles in celebration. Made with French porcini blended with a bit of locally foraged when available, a variety of this delicious bolete can be found in Vermont, the first specimens identified right here in Brattleboro and named after an amateur mycologist named Charles Frost. Hence, the Frost Truffle, blended with rosemary and dark chocolate, and hand dipped in more dark chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder, one of our best sellers.

This week we introduced Magic Mountains, inspired by Dar's childhood foraging of spruce tips, which she would pick off trees on her parents' property and chew on to enjoy the burst of astringent, resinous flavor. These peaked bonbons are made with a rich dark chocolate ganache spiked with the coniferous oils of locally foraged spruce, and fragrant juniper berries. The mature branches create a deep, pungent flavor that offsets the fruitiness of the berries and the bitterness of the chocolate beautifully.

Stop by our Factory Shop or our Farmers Market Booth and taste the flavors of our local forests!
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Monday, July 11, 2016

fruits of summer






Berries are ripe and in season! We're submerging the latest harvests in deep, dark chocolate or creamy cocoa-butter-rich white chocolate, and serving them up chilled at the Brattleboro Farmers Market & our own Factory Shop. Get them quick, they don't last long!

white chocolate infused with rhubarb & rosewater in a dark chocolate cup,
topped with rosewater candied rhubarb & a rose petal

fresh local strawberry with dark chocolate & balsamic beurre noir ganache,
 finished with shaved candied rhubarb & basil-infused sugar

brown butter white chocolate ganache fortified with caramelized local scape,
garnished with a candied scape

We've also been missing the theatre and presentation of restaurants, and have been inventing fresh, open-face truffles with local produce that we make the morning of Market, to be eaten that day. These ephemeral bites have been really popular, and really fun to create. Again, these are made in limited quantities and sell out quickly, so stop by our booth at the Farmers Market to grab one of these exclusive little creations.



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Thursday, June 9, 2016

on board with chocolate

Our vegetarian chocolate charcuterie is ready for a party! We created our recipes to pair with cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, wine and fortified wines, bourbon, craft beer and cured meats. Experiment away with combinations (there is no wrong way to do it), or try out some of our suggestions:

sliceable chocolate sausage-style charcuterie:
chocolate salami: blue cheeses like Bayley Hazen Blue, washed rind cheeses like Von Trapp Oma, dried and fresh figs, roasted almonds and hazelnuts, marsala wine, sherry, port, porter

chocolate mortadella: soft goat cheeses like Vermont Creamery chèvre, semi-aged Crottina from Blue Ledge Farm, Fromage Blanc, young soft cheese you can sweeten with honey from Spoonwood Cabin Creamery, greek style yogurt spiced with honey and orange water, or with cinnamon and black pepper, Sidehill Farm apricot orange marmalade and spiced peach jams, Blake Hill Preserves Moroccan plum and fennel chutney, dates, pistachios and almonds, African chenin blancs, Vermont meads, or a red zinfandel or syrah





spreadable, smooth chocolate terrine-style charcuterie:
Our terrine and pâté chocolats are sliceable when served cool, or spreadable when they reach room temperature. They go beautifully on cheese, fruit and charcuterie boards as well, or can be served as individual desserts. Spread on toasts, thinly sliced baguette, water crackers or other biscuits, or float a slice of these rich terrines on a pool of berry coulis, a sweetened red wine reduction or créme anglaise, and serve with fresh fruits and freshly whipped cream. See our recipe for a fresh berry-port reduction here

Mont Vert Terrine: pairs well with summer berries, port, sherry, sparkling wines and fruity rosés, lambics, sour belgian beers

Sapling Pâté Chocolat: pairs well with dried apricots, figs, marrons glacees and roasted nuts, raspberries and tart cherries, bourbon, stouts

Learn more about what's inside our charcuterie here


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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

market-steading







This season we built our own little cabana at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market. Being newcomers to the Market we were at the bottom of the list for choosing our booth site, so we waited with bated breath throughout the process, stealing hopeful glances toward a small space nestled underneath an enormous locust tree. It turned out that others didn't find the shady spot as ideal as a couple of chocolatiers would, so we were thrilled to find it still available when it came our turn to choose.

Dar drew up plans for a simple, shaded structure that abutted the tree, and John along with a dear friend and neighbor got to work building. Another dear friend who vended at the Market a few years ago gifted us the roofing from their old booth, and we popped it up one afternoon just before a spring rainstorm. Our neighbor gifted us the beautiful, rustic spruce panels that literally spruce up the front (sorry, couldn't resist). We couldn't be happier with how our little cabin turned out, and are reminded of how fortunate we are to know such good people every time we're at the Market!




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

sweet on montréal




Montréal is the city of my childhood, the place we would often go for school trips and family dinners and shopping when I was a child, later as a place to dance and drink and hear music as a teen and college student. When my husband and I got married almost 20 years ago in San Francisco, we thought we were moving back east to live in Montréal. Ten years had passed since I'd last visited, and we arrived to find what felt like a completely new city that was somehow still comfortable, still home. We ultimately ended up calling Vermont and its green hills, fresh food, clean air and rich artistic culture home, but have made a habit of visiting Montréal several times a year for our urban fix, and to listen and look and eat and drink our way around our favorite neighborhoods.


Thirteen years ago, a talented confectioner named Chloé opened a small shop on rue Roy in the heart of the Plateau, and tasting her inventive and exquisite chocolates opened our minds and tastebuds in the most profound way. We make it a point to visit her beautiful shop, Les Chocolats de Chloé, now on bustling rue Duluth est, whenever we are in the city, and you should too!  

Chloé is one of the nicest, most generous & funniest of people

Many thanks to Chloé for penning us a fantastic list of restaurants to visit – so many new places are popping up, we can't keep up

We make it a point to try out new restaurants and cafés every time we visit, which isn't difficult since Montréal is definitely booming on the food scene. With expert recommendations for places, many off the beaten path, we dove in and had a wonderful time exploring some eating spots that were absolute gems.
Café Melbourne knows how to pull a sweet espresso

Brunch (my favorite meal of the day) at Petite Maison was fresh, inventive & absolutely wonderful

Brunch (again!) & pastries at Patisserie Rhubarbe was to die for

Before an afternoon at the Musée d'Art Contemporain we made a stop at a small boutique on Mont-Royal that specializes in bean to bar chocolates, many hard to find and all beautifully displayed, the amazing La Tablette de Miss Choco. The incredibly knowledgable and gracious owners, Karine and Jacques, are excited to share and educate chocolate lovers on the intricacies of cacao sourced from all over the world, and the chocolate makers' craft of highlighting and creating singular tasting experiences we can all enjoy. The drinking chocolate they serve in their small café is absolutely stunning, so don't miss out.
our stash of chocolates chosen from a dizzying selection at La Tablette de Miss Choco, the place to go for all of the best bean to bar chocolates from around the world, including locally crafted from Quebec
We're home, refreshed, invigorated, and full of inspiration. Can't wait to share some of our ideas with you!

>>Check out our Montréal Guide for more eating, drinking & visiting suggestions




Thursday, March 10, 2016

spring into action




What a weird winter it has been! Spring is showing more signs of settling in, as flowers are beginning to push their way up from the ground, trees are swelling with tiny buds, summer birds and birdsong have arrived, the wood frog chorus has begun, and sap is flowing. This is when I start craving the taste of freshly boiled maple syrup, and earthy, peaty, muddy flavors.

We're putting together boxes of maple bonbons, and piping ganaches with smoky whiskey into deep, dark chocolate shells. Our chocolate eggs, birds and a menagerie of other creatures from vintage French chocolate molds are appearing at the Farmers Market this week, next to the lively bunches of micro-greens and warm bottles of maple syrup from local farmers, sure signs of springtime. I don't know about you, but I'm ready.