It started on a dare in 1983 iIn the kitchen of the Ice House Restaurant, in Burlington, Vermont. At the holidays, Jim Lampman would buy fancy chocolates to give out to his staff. Until one Christmas, when his pastry chef confessed what he really thought of those chocolates. “All right, then you do better!” Jim replied. The result was a batch of hand-rolled truffles so smooth and creamy, so deep in pure chocolate flavor — after just one bite, Jim knew they were onto something. Within a year the restaurant was sold, Lake Champlain Chocolates was born, and a new era in American chocolate had begun.
Though maybe it began back in 1965, when 15-year-old Jim landed a summer job at Country Kettle Fudge, on the Jersey Shore. Visitors to the shop discovered a magical experience there, and a feast for the senses. This was thanks to the vision of owner John Maschal, who would become a mentor to Jim over the next four years — a model for bringing passion to all you do.
At the start, the idea was to sell their truffles wholesale to just a few specialty stores. Tucked away in a tiny alley behind Floyd’s lawnmower service, they weren’t too easy to find. And yet, there came a constant knocking at our door — chocolate lovers who had tracked us down in search of truffles! It was clear they have to grow — and in 1998 that is just what they did. Moving to a 24,000-square-foot facility at 750 Pine Street, where they still make all our chocolates today.
LCC’s chocolates have won regional and national awards, as well as accolades from the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, the Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, WeddingWire, Martha Stewart Living, and others. Sure, we’re proud of those — but what we’re most proud of is our commitment to the people who make our products possible.
With so many exciting new initiatives in the works, it’s good to pause, take stock of the past, and appreciate where LCC is today. Most important, they realize it has all been possible because of their customers care as much about great chocolate as they do. And looking to the future, you can be sure they will continue to follow the same principles that have guided Jim from the very beginning: Dare to do better. Always do it with passion. And do it your own way.