Burlington, Vt.-based Lake Champlain Chocolates has created a new line of micro-batch, organic bean-to-bar chocolates dubbed Blue Bandana.
This “flanker” brand allows the company to target new consumer demographics while protecting its established market position. It is also an indicator that demand for bean-to-bar chocolate is gaining wider consumer recognition. And, it underscores a direction within the premium chocolate market: separating those producers creating chocolate from scratch (chocolate makers) from remelters (chocolatiers). The chocolate maker’s emphasis on terroir, plant genetics, and vintage harvests parallels wine production.
Some of the inspiration behind the brand’s creation was “sparked by questions raised during factory tours, of consumers wanting more information about the origin of the ingredients,” explains founder Eric Lampman. The experience led him in 2009 to trace the supply chain to its origins and review all the supply and process layers involved with sourcing. He also traveled to cocoa farms and experimented with beans from a half dozen countries before launching Blue Bandana.
The new line features three origins: Madagascar 70%, Guatemala 70% and Madagascar Wild Pepper. The latter, which uses pepper called voatsiperifery native to Madagascar, was a finalist in the 2012 Good Foods Award. These 2.3-oz. bars retail for $7.00.