The boys and I got ready for breakfast, but when we got there we were told that breakfast was just for the conference goers! Heh. We picked up their breakfast bags (paper bags of apple, granola bar, room temp oj, andes mints and a blueberry muffin), and I got Jack a yogurt too. The boys ate and then we got ready to go, and then I realized that I should have made us leave 10 minutes before because the Lake Champlain chocolate factory tours started on the hour. Doh! We got over there as soon as we could and were 1 minute late. I apologized and asked if we could join the tour anyway and they said it was no biggie and of course.
This tour was a fun video and a guy talking us through how chocolate is made. Cocoa pods grow on the sides of the trunk or limbs; they grow to the size of a football, and need a machete to harvest. Bobba is the white and sweet part inside the cocoa pod. It’s fermented 2-6 days and turns from a seed to a bean (I didn’t know that was possible, but that’s what the guy said). During that time it turns from white and sweet to brown and bitter. It’s funny to me that we take cocoa beans, change them to the opposite of what we want, and then sweeten them. We got to taste 3 kinds of chocolate, and then the guy went over all the machines on the factory floor and what they did. After the tour they had nibs for us to taste, and then half a truffle for each of us. We shopped a bit and I bought some dark chocolate orange rinds, some seconds, and then some fancy hot chocolate.
Our tasting chocolates:
That circus tent, the McCracken’s sign and the juggler and stand were all made of chocolate! The jars were the props that got passed around for us to smell/look at about the chocolate process.
You can see the 2nd lady from the left pouring chocolate into a mold on a rumble table. The whole table shakes all the time to ensure the chocolate flows to fill all the spaces.
The tumbler is that arch of brown ‘cans’ behind the middle person. It’s constantly moving and magnetic, and they stick chocolate in molds (like those in the picture above, all leaning against each other on the metal cart at the bottom middle of the photo) that have magnetic bottoms. Those molds will stay on the tumbler for half an hour to make sure the chocolate coats the molds and the inside stays hollow.
In the photo below you can see tempering tanks that hold 2,000 lbs of chocolate each!
Then it was a 1:10 minute drive to Cabot. We stopped right away at a thrift store in an old church and I bought both boys light jackets and a Star Wars book Max found for Jack. Isn’t this sky right outside the thrift store beautiful?!
Another cool sight we saw right away was this big stack of firewood with windows in it! I guess when you burn this much wood over the winter you want it to look good stacked in front of your house!
The drive was beautiful! The trees are turning, and the colorful mountains against the beautiful blue sky with white clouds was amazing. We passed by the capital and I was bummed I couldn’t take a picture. There was a beautiful brick building with trim, and the capitol was a gold topped dome. We think VT is a bunch of small towns because even Montpelier didn’t look like a big city. We finally made it to Cabot, and it’s really small! I’d texted Ted to call me, but then never sent the text! Boo! He called anyway about 5 minutes before we got to the factory; it was so good to talk to him!
The video tour of Cabot was pretty good, but they said something I forgot to ask about, “Curds plus dressing equals cottage cheese.” I guess I’ll need to google to figure that one out. After the video we ate cheese!!! Max tasted every single kind, but I only tasted the ones I really thought I’d like…there were so many and I didn’t have a drink so the tastes started running together after a bit.
It would’ve definitely been more fun if Ted had been here, but we had a good time. I bought $50 worth of cheese! And then remembered that there was birch beer, so I turned around and bought 3 of those. We took a couple of pictures, and then went down the road to take a picture of the Cabot sign for our friends.
Here are some more photos of the beauty we saw on our drive:
And a funny sign you’d never see down south!
When we headed to the Boston airport to pick up Ted I saw that we were an hour early, so I scouted out some thrift stores. We stopped at the first one but I didn’t find anything I had to have. Ted called us not long after and said we should go straight to the airport. We had been going 70mph, and then all of a sudden the road narrowed to 1 lane and the limit went down to 45, and then we saw a ski lift! I had Max take pictures, but it was hard to do at 45 mph.
We got to the airport about 15 minutes early, so it’s a good thing we didn’t go to any more thrift stores! Ted’s pretty jetlagged, so it’s a good thing we didn’t try to go to Micah’s tonight! We stopped by Wegmans on the way home. I thought that I’d get home and make burgers for us, but with the typical Boston traffic we were going to get home later than was reasonable. We ate supper at McDonald’s and then went home and right to bed. On the way to McD’s two guys screamed past us, one on the shoulder and the other in the left lane…Ted thinks they must’ve been doing at least 100mph. They were road raging; I’m glad they went past us and left us alone! I’m ready to get away from this traffic! This is the worst place we’ve driven in: worse than Philly, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio and even New York!