Taking The Market By The Balls | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Taking The Market By The Balls 

Side Dishes: Dan's introduces a line ?of truffles

Dan's Chocolates
  • Dan's Chocolates

Vermont is overflowing with chocolatiers. From the ever-growing Lake Champlain Chocolates, LLC, to the Barry Callebaut factory in St. Albans to small producers like The Daily Chocolate in Vergennes and Laughing Moon Chocolates in Stowe, we've got more than our share of cacao capital. But there's one purveyor, headquartered in Burlington, that you may not know about: Dan's Chocolates. (Disclosure: I'm well acquainted with Dan's Chocolates because I used to work there).

This month, Dan's is set to raise its profile with a line of individually wrapped truffle balls that will be available at Burlington's Homeport, specialty food shops, mom 'n' pop convenience stores and co-ops around the state and New England. Native Vermonter Dan Cunningham, the company's CEO and "Chief Chokolada," says he wants to give truffle-loving impulse buyers a local option. "Lindt is kind of the 800-pound gorilla in the truffle ball market," he suggests. Cunningham notes that Lindt's Lindor Balls aren't all natural, as his are. Then there's the green issue. Cunningham tries to maintain a zero-waste policy at the Rhode Island factory he shares with several other chocolate companies. "Essentially, every piece that comes in the door of the factory, we send out again as product," he says.

Cunningham started his biz by selling truffles on the Internet. In the fall of 2005 he introduced a new product, miniature chocolate bars, at area stores. The single-serving sweets come in eight funky flavors — caffeine-infused dark chocolate, white chocolate with pretzels and a raisin-cranberry combo enrobed in milk chocolate, to name a few.

The truffle balls will come in the same flavors, and you won't find them at Costco or Wal-Mart. The truffle ball is "a product that's really designed for local stores. It's a niche product . . . There's not a multimillion-dollar ad budget behind it; it's spreading via word of mouth," Cunningham says. The truffles tend to retail for about 40 cents, while the mini-bars go for just under a dollar. "We're trying to create innovative products at price points that won't break the budget," Cunningham explains.

How do the sweet treats taste? The peppermint and caramel flavors stand out. The "Peppy-r-mint" features a refreshing combo of candy cane and snappy dark chocolate, while the milky and smooth "Caramel River" soothes a savage sweet tooth.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Bio:
Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a... more

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation