Last week my girlfriend and I were trying to think of a place to grab lunchtime coffee in Burlington other than our usual spots (Speeder and Earl’s, Uncommon Grounds, etc.), so we headed down Pine Street to the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory.
Which is a totally reasonable place to park yourself for an hour or so. They have a cafe. You can drink fine-tasting Mexican—excuse me, Aztec—hot cocoa infused with espresso, watch the factory workers in envy, discuss the issues of the day, relax, maybe write a blog post.
If you get really into it, you can even take a guided tour to see what the heck all that odd-looking machinery is doing with itself.
But while the cayenne-spiced hot cocoa may provide much needed warmth, there’s something frigid about the experience of Lake Champlain Chocolates, a sort of beautiful-but-unapproachable-woman aura that distances me from thinking, “Hey, let’s go hang out at the chocolate factory.”
The problem—if you want to call it a problem—is embodied in the chocolate itself. Their products are so well-crafted I don’t want to eat them, and so expensive I don’t want to buy them. As cool as their stuff is to look at, I only purchase it as holiday presents to non-Vermonters (and sometimes my girlfriend), pretty much saying:
“Hey, I got you this chocolate frog. Pretty neat-looking, eh? And if you want to eat it, great.”
Of course, they are never disappointed. Because, warm or frigid, expensive or affordable, beautifully crafted or completely unshaped, who could ever be put off by a piece of chocolate?