Celebrate the holidays with handcrafted chocolate made in New Hampshire!

 

Okay, it’s the holiday season and what better reason to indulge in something sweet.  Not that you need a reason, so why not celebrate with handcrafted chocolate made right here in New Hampshire?  I’m not going to sugar coat this, if you like chocolate, you are in for a real treat (or two, or three)!

Exterior of Vicuna Chocolate Factory and Cafe

Close up of handcrafted chocolate bars including Yellow Chili Bar, Cacao Nibs Bar and Ginger Honey Bar

The delicious aroma of chocolate greets you as soon as you walk into Vicuna Chocolate Factory and Café in downtown Peterborough.  I’ve heard a lot about this bean to bar chocolate shop but this was my first time stopping by.

Close up of Cacao Beans

 

Sign that details the countries where the cacao beans come from

Everything here is made from scratch starting with hand-selected cacao beans sourced from Central and South America.   Once the raw beans arrive at their door, the magic begins.

Close up of inside machine that is grinding the chocolate

Vicuna image being stamped onto outer wrapper of the chocolate bars

From roasting to grinding, tempering, molding and finally wrapping… they do it all.  The result is artisanal chocolate that tastes amazing!

Kris sitting at cafe table with a cup of the sipping chocolate

Stop by and try a sample and see the process yourself.  While you’re here sit a spell in the café with a cup of their specialty sipping chocolate or try a cup of the unique cacao husk tea and a homemade pastry.

Exterior of outside of Van Otis Chocolates

Wide shot of inside chocolate shop with variety of chocolates and candies

From Peterborough we headed to Manchester, and Van Otis Chocolate.  A local landmark, they’ve been making chocolates here since 1935.

Pieces of Swiss Fudge being put on trays to be boxed up

 

Their signature candy is their Swiss Fudge, also known as a meltaway.  It’s delish!  They’re incredibly busy right now crafting this sweet, boxing up thousands and thousands of pieces all for delivery this holiday season.

Van Otis staff standing in front of trays of cashews to be funneled for caramel turtles

 

Close up of caramel coming out of funnel onto tray on top of pecans

Besides the fudge, they’re also funneling caramels, dipping chocolates and crafting many other candies.

Case of variety of chocolates

Shelves of wrapped chocolate trees

Stop by the shop to browse their seasonal treats.  After the holidays consider taking a tour or maybe you’d like to try your hand at creating confections they offer classes too!

Exterior of outside of la Cascade du Chocolat

From Van Otis, we headed to Exeter to round out our chocolate tour at La Cascade du Chocolat!  They too are bean to bar chocolatiers.

CLose up of handpainted chocolate christmas cards

They combine cacao with locally sourced products to create artisanal masterpieces.

Chef working on handcrafting bonbon

Close up of the white chocolate raspberry carmelized coconut cut in half so you can see the inside

We watched these master chefs at work handcrafting white chocolate bonbons filled with raspberry jam, macadamia nut and carmelized coconut – talk about creative!  And the attention to detail, amazing!

Different flavored handcrafted chocolate bars

Close up of chocolate hippo with a red Santa hat

All the work that goes into each piece of chocolate whether it’s a bar, bonbon, truffle or seasonal treat really makes you want to slowly savor and appreciate what you’re tasting when you take a bite.

Close up box of holiday bonbons

Even their holiday boxes have so much festive flair – they feature bonbons and truffles inspired by the Nutcracker ballet – how cool is that? And the taste? Wow, what a treat!  Of course this trio is just a sampling of the chocolate being made in New Hampshire. There’s an incredible variety to choose from, including: Bryne and Carlson in Portsmouth; Burdick’s Chocolates in Walpole; Dancing Lion Chocolate in Manchester;  Enna Chocolate in Epping; Granite State Candy Shoppe in Concord; Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach;  KRM Chocolates in Salem; Winnipesaukee Chocolates in Wolfeboro and we’re just getting started!  So be sure to sample and savor some sweets this holiday season! And just a reminder to follow our travels on Facebook and Instagram!