Our food philosophy is simple: local, sustainably and mindfully foraged, grown and harvested ingredients make the freshest, most flavorful chocolates. With backgrounds in biology and chemistry, coffee roasting, cafés and restaurants, we take the slow food and locavore movements to heart. The history of the Green Mountains and Connecticut River valley and the farms, forests and people are a constant inspiration to us. We are most excited when we come up with recipes that evoke the flavors, sights and textures of walking along a forest trail, into a field or through an orchard.
Inspired by chocolate’s versatility as an ingredient, from a traditional bitter and spiced drink in Mayan traditions to European confectionery, we prefer savory flavors and are motivated by seasonal ingredients, regional chefs or a memorable meal, often leading us to unusual (yet delicious) combinations and flavor profiles. Abutting over 11 miles of trails wending through acres of preserved forest, our garden provides a variety of culinary herbs, flowers, and edible mushrooms for recipes.
Sourcing our couverture from socially responsible makers that that are committed to paying workers fairly and working with farmer-owned cooperatives, we use single-origin chocolate or blended chocolates from specific regions that offer singular taste profiles. Each chocolate that we use has been carefully chosen both for quality and how it will match with the various ingredients we’re going to pair it with. We’re constantly testing and tasting chocolates, and are always on the lookout for new producers that will work with what we’re trying to do. One is an earthy Venezuelan white chocolate with umami flavor notes that has won the International Chocolate Award for 5 years running. We eventually want to make some of our own chocolate bean to bar and source our cacao directly from farmers, and we’ll keeping working on getting there.
We take great pride in being a Vermont chocolate company. We partner with nearby producers, foragers and growers to pair our chocolates with regional ingredients that include Vermont chévre and other Vermont artisan cheeses, créme fraîche, buttermilk and heavy cream, maple from local producers, sea salt harvested off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and honey, seasonal fruits, mushrooms and herbs from local farmers and foragers as well as from our own garden for our bonbons. We use butter from Cabot Creamery, a cooperative that began in Vermont and now sources dairy from farms in New England and in the St. Lawrence Valley of New York state where Dar grew up. Explore more about the ingredient partnerships we are forging here.
To reduce our footprint, we don’t use plastic packaging or dividers. Our kraft boxes are recyclable and use 100% recycled boxboard and 100% recycled papers, our cellophane bags are 100% biodegradable and compostable, and our paper labels are recyclable. We compost or recycle our food and paper waste.
Our chocolates are now stocked in shops throughout New England and New York state, travel all over the United States via our online shop, and are carried with customers who visit our Factory Shop as far away as Turkey, Kenya, Switzerland, Chile, Mexico, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Japan. All of this is great. At the same time, it’s important to us to remain a place-based Vermont chocolate company, rooted in the local farm community and providing the best that our region produces to a wider audience that appreciates delicious, singular ingredients of superior quality. We’ll continue to work with local farmers and producers to come up with fresh, innovative taste pairings, as well as create chocolates we’re proud to have our name on.
Amsterdam photo courtesy of Ulla Välk Evans