Monday, February 8, 2016

sweet love

It's that time of year to indulge in chocolate treats as a gift to your wonderful self or someone you love! We've come up with a few ways to dive in & celebrate, including a fabulous collaboration with local jewelry artist Will Alderfer, who is offering his beautiful hand-crafted, textural pieces paired with boxed collections of our delicious bonbons in his online shop (order today, Monday, to be sure your gift ships on time!), or pick them up in our shop in the Cotton Mill building here in Brattleboro, or our pop up shop during the Brattleboro LUV Crawl (more info below).

We are participating in some festive & taste-bud tingling events this week:

Brattleboro LUV Crawl on Thursday from 6-8pm We will set up a pop up shop/lounge in the back room at Duo Restaurant with Artisanal Cellars, a local distributor who will be sampling a selection of their organic, biodynamic and/or sustainably created wines from small production, family-owned wineries. In addition to sampling a selection of our chocolates, we'll have for purchase boxed chocolates ready for gifting, and chocolate flights to pair with a glass of wine specially selected from Duo's offerings. Grab a flight, purchase a glass of goodness from Duo's bar, then sit back and enjoy the deliciousness to the rich, mellow sounds of a couple of the area's most awesome DJs

Brattleboro Winter Farmers Market on Saturday 10am-2pm We'll be purveying the whole shebang: bars, truffles, filled chocolates, heart boxes, mendiants, & more

Provisions is for Lovers on Saturday from 3-6pm  Join us and our friends from Spoonwood Cabin, along with other purveyors of delicious local treats, sparkling and dessert wines, for a tasting extravaganza. We'll be there around 4pm to start doling out our sweet charcuterie and other bonbons

Valentine's Day evening kick-off at MKT:Grafton on Sunday, February 14 from 4-5 pm This gem of a shop in the heart of Grafton Village will be pairing select local cheeses, our chocolates, and Vermont Ice Cider for the perfect start to an evening of delicious decadences. $30.00 couple/$15.00 an individual

Our hearts are bursting with delicious tidbits: we have both large & small assortments nestled in beautiful matte-gold heart boxes tied with matte black raffia. Or, a trio of heart-shaped mendiant pairs deckled with fruits, flower blossoms and exotic salts. Our Vermont Romance Kit with two saffron, Vermont honey & Vermont cream truffles paired with two of our caramelized buttermilk maple filled logs, like a romantic, snowy night in front of the fire, is a classic treat. All available at our shop, & at select local fine food stores. Here's to love!

Monday, January 4, 2016

happy new year

And what a year it has been!

We had humble beginnings. This was our first event, the Cotton Mill Open Studio Sale in 2014. We had a handful of offerings, as we were just beginning to explore possibilities & experiment with ingredients, all in our one-day-a-week kitchen sublet on the same floor. 

Coming from years of making truffles in our home kitchen for holiday gifts, & expanding into chocolate terrines & mendiants for weddings & catered events, we began to consider what our niche might be, & how to make fresh, interesting chocolates inspired by our locale, offering both truffles that are more tender & best eaten soon after made, as well as chocolates that had good shelf stability without using preservatives or added sugar. Our first forays were into molded chocolates filled with naturally sweet sources like local maple sugar caramelized with Vermont buttermilk, as well as our version of chocolate salami with Vermont dairy & housemade rosemary shortbread, & tablets & bars, all of which have since become classics on our menu.

a tower of mendiants
When our kitchen sublet became available full-time a few months later, we began slowly furnishing our space and, with the vision & support of the BDCC, building out a small showroom/factory shop where people could come in to sample & purchase our wares.

This past year our region's great bounty of Vermont butter, heavy cream, cheeses, mushrooms (black trumpet & mataike from our friends at Terrafunga),  & in the height of summer local herbs, vegetables (oh, gilfeather turnip!) & fruits, captured our imagination as we explored pairing chocolates with each of these ingredients.  We made extracts of local basil & mint to carry us through the winter months, & stocked up on dried local & European mushrooms, as well as dried herbs & fruits.

Bleu Hour Truffles made with Bayley Hazen Blue cheese

Fresh blueberries from Green Mountain Orchards submerged in chocolate

Walker Farm blackberries tossed in balsamic & roasted & scattered on dark chocolate tiles, & fresh raspberries from High Meadows Farm drenched in dark chocolate

local Gilfeather Turnip truffles dusted with beet powder & crystalized basil from Walker Farm meet Venezuelan white chocolate

candied maitake mushroom foraged by Terrafunga on 61% dark Venezuelan chocolate with roasted hazelnut

black trumpet mushrooms foraged locally by Terrafunga steeped in Vermont dairy & blended into a 70% dark Venezuelan chocolate ganache

our Forage Collection, with mushroom & mushroom-inspired truffles

We are thrilled to be represented in wonderful specialty shops that are committed to offering well-made, local, healthy & delicious products, & to be featured on a fantastic locavore restaurant's dessert menu. Joining a community of local growers & makers at our area Farmers Markets has been incredibly inspiring & invaluable.

Looking back on how far we've come in the space of a year makes our heads spin – we are overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response to our venture, which is truly a dream come true for us. Looking forward to the year ahead, we are excited to continue expanding our relationships with Vermont growers & makers, create jobs & have others from our community work alongside us, & to continually be inspired by chocolate's vast savory & sweet pairing possibilities.

Thank you again, for all of the help & support. We look forward to sharing more soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

holiday festivities

It's that time of year! We've been having a blast participating in area events for the holiday season, from the Cotton Mill Open Studios & Holiday Sale in the very building that houses our chocolate kitchen and shop, to an in-house at local North End Butchers & Gourmet Shop, conveniently adjacent to Windham Wines, to Provisions festive and bustling Grand Champagne & Chocolate tasting event in nearby Northampton, Massachusetts.

What an exhilarating, invigorating and absolutely exhausting time of year, for which we are so grateful. To all those who included our chocolates in your holiday festivities, family gatherings & gift-giving, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts, & cheers!  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

grateful for all of the goodness


above photos by Christina Bernales
It's the time of year for gatherings & festive noshing, & when our chocolate charcuterie really gets a chance to shine! Add a rich, creamy chocolate salami or terrine to your cheese, fruit & charcuterie board, serve alongside pie and ice cream, put a slice on a plate with fresh whipped cream & a fruit or caramel sauce, or add it to your hors d'oeuvre tray with a sliced baguette or toasts. It's all good. 

Give thanks for friends, family & food!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

fall bounty

It's the most wonderful time of the year, the beginning of autumn, & it hasn't disappointed. We've been gathering sweet late-season strawberries from local farms & dipping them in dark chocolate,  along with fragrant ground cherries, their husks gathered into fancy headdresses, & tender, juicy kiwi berries (yes, actual hardy kiwis, grown in Vermont!). Fresh blueberries & raspberries are being submerged in rich chocolate when we can get our hands on them. We can personally attest that a cold, crisp glass of local Whetstone cider is the perfect accompaniment!

We're also excited about a collaboration with Sawyer's Artisanal Cheese & Orchard Hill Breadworks, a delicious & comely sandwich exclusive to the Farmers Market which pairs the three distinctive flavors & textures wonderfully. Or, as we were tickled to hear someone exclaim, "Oh, bread, cheese & chocolate, my three favorite food groups – this makes the perfect Farmer's Market marriage!"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

chocolatier: the next generation

One of the reasons we were able to dive in & create some new chocolates these past couple of weeks was that we had an incredible intern who worked with us before the school semester kicked in. Meet Elery, an accomplished baker & chocolatier in her own right, the kind of young woman who spends her spare time manning a melangeur in her home kitchen & using her own ground chocolate to make an array of delicious bonbons & baked goods (we were lucky enough to be able to sample some!). We rocked our hairnets & fancy aprons, & experimented with new flavor combinations & techniques. Elery kept us laughing, questioning & exploring, & we are so grateful to have such a fun, smart & energetic person help us in the kitchen!

You can have the opportunity to try out some of Elery's treats if you're lucky enough to go to her family's art & community space, 118 Elliot, on a night when she's offering some of her wares for sale. 

We hope to have Elery back in the chocolate lab for some guest-star chocolatiering during the holiday season.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

take flight

New on the menu at the charming & delicious Gill Tavern: a flight of mendiants in dark, milk & white chocolate with different seasonal & classic inclusions depending on the whim of the chocolatier
Back on our menu: Mont Vert terrine with dark milk chocolate, Vermont creamery chévre, Vermont honey & a whiff of lavender
Happy Summertime Feasting!