News Articles on Chocolate


in truffles

•   What: David Alan Chocolatier, maker
of fine chocolates.
•   Location: Lebanon.
•   History: Certified chocolatier David
Alan Honan, who studied at the
Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland,
opened his candy factory in 1985.
•    Products: David Alan’s specialties are
Swiss-style chocolate truffles and
trufflettes made in assorted flavors. Other
confections include chocolate-covered
nuts and fruits; holiday-themed candies
such as Christmas ribbon boxes, Easter
bunnies and eggs; and Valentine’s Day
heart boxes. Gift baskets also are prepared.
•    Executive: David Alan Honan, owner
and president.
•    Employees: 5.
•    For more information:
(800) 428-2310
– Compiled by David Savka
The Indianapolis Star •
Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Myths and Facts
about Chocolate
and Confectionery

Legends of St.
Valentine’s Day

Easter & Passover
Candy Traditions

Why Dark Chocolate is so
Toxic … For Your Dog

Ann Batts gift-wraps a box of truffles at David Alan
Chocolatier. Batts works at the store along with her
grandmother, Bonnie Batts.

Saturday, December 17, 2005
–Jamie Hall [email protected]

Sous chef to Swiss sweets:
David Alan Chocolatier

A visit to Switzerland left a lasting
impression on David Alan Honan. It
changed his life, really.
The Lebanon resident and owner of
David Alan Chocolatier found the
country’s chocolate – particularly its
truffles – as a culinary art he wanted to
re-create in his hometown.  
“I had seen the truffles in Zurich
(Switzerland) may years ago and wanted
to copy them,”Honan said. “the last time
my sister (Susan Jones) went there, she
brought some back.  
“We thought ours were better.”
Honan explained that the delicacies are
really quite simple, made of either milk or
dark chocolate, whole cream and sweet
butter. Each consists of a velvety-smooth
chocolate center – also known as
ganache – enclosed in a shell of milk,
dark or white chocolate. He’s also
perfected the “trufflette” in five flavors:
orange, raspberry, hazelnut, coffee and
Although typically flavored with liquor, the
truffles at David Alan are not; he chose
to omit that ingredient.
“I wanted to keep the chocolate
family-friendly,” he said.
Destined for desserts
A culinary career has always been in the
stars for the 1968 Lebanon High School
alumnus, who also graduated in 1975
from the Culinary Institute of America in
Hyde Park, New York. He insists, jokingly,
that people shouldn’t confuse the
establishment of the CIA.
“(The Culinary Institute of America) is the
original CIA,” he said, laughing. “It
started in 1946 – the other CIA started in
From chef’s school, Honan went to
Honolulu, Hawaii, where he served as a
sons chef in a hotel there for several
years. After some convincing; he
returned to Lebanon in 1981 and
re-visited Switzerland – learning the
secret to making truffles in only a few
weeks. He’s been making truffles locally
since the fall of 1984. And he doesn’t
consider his other offerings – nuts,
apricots, orange peel, snappers (his
version of the typically named “turtle”),
molded hearts and gourmet jelly beans –
as attractions to his store at all.
“Truffles were the reason we started the
business,” he said.
He and approximately seven employees
produce chocolate year round, using a
freezer as their main preservative.
“We couldn’t make enough all at once,
and you have to keep it cold,” Honan
said. “As long as it’s sealed when it’s
frozen and sealed when it’s thawed, its
taste won’t be affected.”
Although the bulk of sales is in
mail-order’purchases, many of David
Alan’s customers reside in Indiana. It
does go all over, Honan said of his
chocolate during an interview in which he
took several customer calls.
“(Christmas) is the busiest time of the
year, then Valentine’s Day,” he said. “But
this is definitely the busiest time.”

Link to IBJ’s Sweet somethings

Sweet somethings

Chocolatier maintains a steady routine—even between 2 busiest sales

Behind a case displaying a tempting assortment of truffles, nut clusters
and other chocolate-laden delights, an open doorway reveals a woman in
a hairnet and purple smock rolling fresh truffles onto a flat, cafeteria-style
tray. Machines whir and grind in the background, and every few minutes
the room fills with the sound of candies being pounded from their molds.

It’s a typical Tuesday morning at David Alan Chocolatier in Lebanon.

Each week, three employees make a different variety of chocolate—
today, it’s truffles—while owner and shop namesake David Alan, 56,
listens for equipment glitches and keeps production flowing smoothly.

Alan frequently checks a compressor for condensation in its lines and
adjusts another machine’s settings when the milk chocolate shells get too

“If things work, I don’t have anything to do,” he says.

He’s been known to pull double duty if a candy maker is sick or on
vacation, but “it’s difficult to do both,” he said. On non-production days,
Alan spends his time doing office activities such as paperwork, filling
orders and answering the phone.

On this Tuesday, he arrived at 6 a.m. to prepare. By the time this week’s
production process is complete, he and his staff will have turned out
about 8,400 specialty milk-chocolate truffles. Alan doesn’t leave until the
shop closes at 5 p.m.

“It makes for a long day,” he said, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

The Lebanon native graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and
worked as a professional chef in Honolulu before returning to his
hometown in 1981.

Two years later, captivated by the quality and flavor of Swiss chocolates,
Alan attended the Swiss Chocolate School in Switzerland and learned
how to use the right combination of ingredients—quality chocolate, sweet
butter and whole cream—to create an authentic truffle.

Soon after, Alan renovated an old gas station on Lebanon Street and
opened his shop in December 1984. He now employs a staff of five.
Although he declined to share financial details, Alan said he uses about
7,000 pounds of chocolate per year to make his products.

Christmas and Valentine’s Day are his busiest times. To prepare for the
upcoming holiday, Alan has arranged heartshaped boxes holding truffles
and other assorted chocolates on a prominent shelf. In the two weeks
leading up to the big day, he expects to sell more candy than usual to
walk-in customers as well as through mail and online orders.

Despite the holiday flux in sales, Alan said, he does not significantly
increase weekly production because most of the truffles are frozen and
saved. He usually bases the amount of candy made on a Tuesday on
how much cream is in stock.

In the kitchen on this Tuesday, 65-yearold Carolyn Veach, a nine-year
employee and “head candy maker,” puts filling ingredients in a stainless-
steel bowl and places it under a large mixer. Although she’s been doing
the mixing for seven years, she still measures the chocolate, cream and
butter to get the perfect proportion.

A few feet away, Bonnie Batts, 72, fills thin milk-chocolate half-shells with
the creamy blend. After the candies have been filled, cooled and capped
into neat balls, Pat Holzinger, 56, empties the truffles from their molds
and loads them onto trays.

About 10:30 a.m., Veach finishes the mixing and carries sticky bowls to a
large sink.

“The fun part starts at three o’clock,” she says. That’s when two of them
use the “chocolate waterfall” to drizzle more chocolate onto the candy,
creating a ruffled surface texture. Another will inspect each piece for
bubbles or lumps.

“We’ve got a routine, and we stick to it,” Batts says.

That routine does not exclude an occasional sampling of the goods.

“I see them getting into it every once in a while,” Alan said later. “You can’
t help it.”

People from all over the country order his candy, Alan said, and he pays
attention to what they like. Twenty-nine sugar-free varieties are available
in the front case as a result of demand, and dark chocolate also is
gaining popularity thanks to studies promoting its health benefits. His
best-selling product is a milk-and-dark-chocolate-truffle combination box.

Businesses closer to home are customers, too. In the packaging room,
tiny gold boxes await truffles that will be complimentary treats for guests
at the Canterbury Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. He also sells
chocolates to local flower shops.

Despite his success, no plans for expanding the business are on the

“It’d be nice to have a store someplace else,” Alan said. But along with
more stores, he said, comes more headaches. And for now, Alan and his
employees seem happy where they are.

“We like it here,” he said. •

IBJ staff

Lisa Gerstner

Sat, Jan 27 – 2007

Reprinted with permission of Indianapolis Business Journal,,
IBJ Corp., copyright 2007

Dark` chocolate may
help slow-hardening
of arteries
A little dark chocolate each day , could slow
hardening of the arteries in smokers, a
Swiss study finds.
Chocolate is still no substitute for quitting
smoking, of course, and the researchers
add that the findings are not an excuse to
binge on fattening sweets.
The study asked 20 male smokers to eat
about 1.5 ounces of white chocolate or
dark, then evaluated the effects of each on
blood flow and other parameters.
Two hours after the men finished eating the
dark chocolate, ultrasound scans showed
improved smoothness of the blood flow
through the arteries – an effect that lasted
eight hours, according to a report by study
author Dr. Roberto Corti, from University
Hospital in Zurich, that was published in the
January issue of Heart.
Blood tests showed the dark-chocolate also
halved blood platelet activity, which in turn
decreased the risk of blood clots.
Antioxidant levels in the blood , also rose
among those who ate dark chocolate.
White chocolate did not have those effects.

The Indianapolis Star •
Sunday, December 25, 2005

Health by Chocolate
The morale of patients who spend
time at the Whitaker Wellness
Institute is generally high. These
people have left behind
white-coated docs who prescribe
drugs and embraced white-coated
physicians who prescribe vitamins.
And they are better off for it.
However, morale just went up a
notch: Each patient now receives a
weekly bar of dark chocolate. I’m
glad this generates smiles, but
that’s not why I added it to the
program. Simply put, dark
chocolate is a health food.

“Food of the Gods”
Chocolate comes from the beans of
the cacao plant (Theobroma cacoa,
literally “food of the gods”). It has
been used for centuries in Mayan
and Aztec cultures for culinary,
ceremonial, economic (beans were
often used as currency), and
medicinal purposes. Chocolate was
purported to restore vitality, calm
and soothe the “over-stimulated,”
treat kidney and digestive
problems, and promote virility and
Spanish conquistador Hernando
Cortez was introduced to “xocolatl”
by the ruler of the Aztecs,
Montezuma, who reportedly drank
50 cups of a bitter, chili-flavored
chocolate drink daily. Cortez, who
brought chocolate to Europe in the
early 1500s, described it as, “The
divine drink, which builds up
resistance and fights fatigue. A cup
of this precious drink permits a man
to walk for a whole day without
Although chocolate is now
considered to be more junk food
than health food, recent research
may restore it to its former glory.
Scientists have discovered that
cocoa liquor, the creamy paste of
ground, roasted cacao beans used
to make chocolate, is nature’s
richest source of polyphenols, a
class of phytonutrients with potent
antioxidant activity and other
therapeutic effects.
Yes, chocolate has fat and calories
– and it tastes way too good to be
good for you – but the health
benefits of dark chocolate cannot
be denied. Here are five reasons
you should add it to your diet.

1. Lowers Blood Pressure
One of cocoa’s most abundant
polyphenols is flavanol, which
stimulates the production of nitric
oxide (NO). Readers of Health &
Healing know that NO is a very
important signaling molecule. When
it is produced in the arteries, it acts
as a vasodilator, relaxing the
arteries and causing them to open
up, thus bringing down blood
German researchers divided older
people with mild hypertension into
two groups and gave them 100 g
dark chocolate or 90 g white
chocolate every day for two weeks.
(White chocolate contains no
cocoa.) They had a one-week
“washout” period in which they ate
no chocolate, followed by another
two weeks of eating the other
chocolate. Blood pressure fell in
those eating dark chocolate an
average of 5.1/1.8
(systolic/diastolic) and did not
change in those eating white

2. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
In March 2005, Italian researchers
published results of a study with a
similar design involving
15 healthy men and women.
Glucose tolerance tests were done
at the end of each period, and
blood pressure was taken daily.
Like the German study, dark
chocolates lowered blood pressure.
It also significantly improved
markers of insulin sensitivity,
decreasing fasting insulin and
glucose levels, as well as insulin
and glucose responses to the
glucose tolerance test.
Now, I know many of you are
thinking that sugar-laden chocolate
is the last thing people with
diabetes need to be eating. Yet this
study suggests that dark chocolate
actually ameliorates blood sugar.

3. Mediates Inflammation
I’ve written about the role
inflammation plays in conditions as
diverse as heart disease, diabetes,
cancer, Alzheimer’s disease,
osteoporosis, and autoimmune
disorders. In fact, all major chronic
diseases are associated with
Cocoa flavanols have been shown
to lower inflammation. They do this
by reducing blood concentrations of
5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), a key
enzyme in the synthesis of
leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are
highly active compounds involved in
inflammation in tissues throughout
the body, including pain and
allergic reactions. Dampening the
flames of inflammation is crucial for
disease treatment and prevention,
and dark chocolate is another tool
for doing just that.

4. Protects Against Heart
As you know, elevations in blood
pressure, insulin resistance, and
inflammation all increase risk of
cardiovascular disease. But
chocolate’s protective effects go
beyond these three mechanisms.
Nitric oxide, in addition to lowering
blood pressure, also helps prevent
arterial spasms, which temporarily
decrease blood flow, and platelet
aggregation, the clumping together
of blood cells that reduces blood
fluidity and impairs circulation.
Chocolate’s potent antioxidants
shield the endothelial cells lining
the arteries as well as LDL
cholesterol against free radical
damage. Dark chocolate has the
highest oxygen radical absorbance
capacity (ORAL) of any food.
According to this measurement of
foods’ antioxidant strength, dark

chocolate at 13,120 stands head and
shoulders above other high-ORAC
foods such as milk chocolate (6,740),
raisins (2,830), blueberries (2,400),
spinach (1,260), broccoli (890), and
red grapes (739).
Dark chocolate also has positive
effects on cholesterol levels. Although
its hefty saturated fat content may give
one pause, most of that fat is stearic
acid, which, unlike other saturated fats,
has no adverse effects on cholesterol
levels. In fact, dark chocolate actually
appears to raise protective HDL
cholesterol, while having no effect on
The cardiovascular benefits of dark
chocolate are so potent that it was
recently named one of the seven
heart-healthiest foods, along with wine,
fish, fruits, vegetables, garlic, and
almonds. In an article published in the
British Medical Journal, researchers
theorized that including these foods in
your diet would reduce cardiovascular
events by an astounding 76 percent
and increase life expectancy in men
and women by 6.6 and 4.8 years,

5. Makes You Feel Good
There’s something about chocolate
that goes beyond satisfying your sweet
tooth or hunger pangs. Maybe it’s the
smooth, creamy “mouth-feel” we find
so comforting. It might be an emotional
connection to all those chocolate
Easter bunnies and special treats from
our childhood. Or it could be
chocolate’s tryptophan and
phenylethylamine, which increase
levels of neurotransmitters associated
with sensations of pleasure. There is
even research to suggest that
compounds in chocolate stimulate the
same “feel-good” receptors as falling in
love. (No wonder chocolate and
Valentine’s Day are inseparable.)
For whatever reason, most of us like
chocolate, and some of us crave it like
nothing else. An unknown chocoholic
once said, “There are four basic food
groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate,
white chocolate, and chocolate
truffles.” However, if you want to reap
the health benefits discussed in this
article, stick with dark chocolate.

High-quality dark chocolate is sold in
health food, specialty, and grocery
stores. Look for bars that contain 70
percent cocoa or more. Don’t be put
off by the fat content, and expect it to
have some sugar. Unsweetened dark
chocolate is extremely bitter, and even
sweetened, it is for some an acquired
taste, so shop around for a brand you
like. Aim for about 50 g (1.75 ounces),
or half of a large bar, daily. To keep
caloric intake steady, eat in place of,
rather than in addition to, other foods
or snacks.

Dillinger TL et al. Food of the gods:
cure for humanity? A cultural history of
the medicinal and ritual use of
chocolate, Nutr. 2000 Aug;130(8S
Taubert D et al. Chocolate and blood
pressure in elderly individuals with
isolated systolic hypertension. JAMA.
2003 Aug 27;290(8):1029-30.
Grassi D et al. Short-term
administration of dark chocolate is
followed by a significant increase in
insulin sensitivity and a decrease in
blood pressure in healthy persons. Am
J Clin Nutr 2005;81:611-4.
Sies H et al. Cocoa polyphenols and
inflammatory mediators. Am J Clin Nutr.
2005 Jan;81(1 Suppl):304S-312S.
Franco OH et al. The Polymeal: a more
natural, safer, and probably tastier
(than the Polypill) strategy to reduce
cardiovascular disease by more than
75%. BMJ. 2004 18

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