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Vermont chocolatier takes its truffles seriously

By David Lyon
Globe Correspondent / December 18, 2011
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STOWE, Vt. - At first I thought this ski country chocolate shop might be taking the “locavore’’ food trend a little too far, making truffles with all natural ingredients that are either local or locally sourced. But the initial taste of a Laughing Moon truffle with local basil matched to black pepper proved me wrong. Starting with thick heavy cream, the little delicacies are almost a précis of Vermont bounty: from herbs and maple to red wine, local beer, and apple and pear brandies. The delicate chamomile and lavender truffle combines goat cheese from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery with lavender tea from Vermont Liberty Tea Co.

The most surprising and gutsy truffle mixes Bayley Hazen blue cheese from Jasper Hill Farm with dark chocolate for an intensely flavored, salty bite. Since the truffles contain no preservatives, the chocolatiers add locally distilled vodka to extend their shelf life. Younger chocolate lovers - or those with simpler tastes - can select Laughing Moon’s fudge, chocolate-covered caramel apples, chocolate turtles, salted caramels, or chocolate-dipped maple sugar candy.

The shop features an open kitchen so that customers can watch the chocolatiers mixing up the centers in old-fashioned copper pots and hand-dipping each treat in smooth, rich chocolate. Every afternoon at 2 there is a mini-demonstration of chocolate-making techniques.

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