As the creamy, dark chocolate dripped into soft clumps before their eyes, the two boys watching the chocolate-dipping demonstration at Laughing Moon Chocolates could hardly take their eyes off the gooey delicacy. It was almost like a scene out of Willy Wonka - except instead of the mass-produced Wonka Bars, these boys were drooling over locally produced artisan truffles.
Sadly, the demo lasted only 10 minutes. However, the highlight came at the end when, as I had hoped, the chocolatier offered a free sample to everyone in attendance. The crowd was limited to the two fascinated kids, their mothers and me, and we all jumped at the chance to gobble down the pricey treats.
The truffle I sampled, called "Green Mountain Sunshine," literally melted in my mouth. It had a vodka base and was incredibly rich. Laughing Moon also produces an enticing variety of sweet fruits coated in chocolate, butter crunch and caramel.
Not all the ingredients are local - unfortunately, cocoa beans don't grow in Vermont - but owner Leigh Williams says the company tries to use local fruit whenever possible.
Williams, who has been creating sweet treats for six years, is quick to point out the difference between her small shop and larger chocolatiers. "Everything is made on the premises," she says proudly. "It's much more of an art form than large-scale manufacturing."
Though Laughing Moon offers some sugar- and salt-free confections, it does not, alas, have any fat-free choices. Oh, well.