meet the owner, Lecia Duke
Though you expect to see a desperado tumble off the balcony of the classic two-story Western building that houses Chocolat, times have changed and it is now occupied by the finest of chocolates, made on the premises by the most elegant of women, not a stubble-bearded cowboy.
Allow yourself time to dally in this store. You will linger to watch the process of rolling chocolates by hand. What you will see is patience itself, as the staff calmly fills delicate cups with perfect chocolates. When Lecia Duke, owner of Chocolat opened this store, hand-rolling chocolate was a dying art form, one that she dared to revive.
You will linger over the display cases, ogling every perfect chocolate. You will linger because you must decide which chocolate to buy. This can only be described as a heart-rending decision, and you will be torn between a perfect truffle, made only with cream and dark chocolate, and a chocolate filled with fruit nectars, or luscious wine chocolates, maybe a nut cluster. If decisions are difficult, try a few of each.
If Duke is on the premises, ask her about chocolates. She will explain any detail of this delicate process, and she will tell you that dark chocolate is good for you. Glowing with the awareness of the health benefits, she will explain that dark chocolate has more antioxidants than any other food, then continue with the precision of a scientist to explain how antioxidants work in the body. She will talk about health even as you bite into that perfect truffle, savoring its dark, creamy richness. This truffle is made with nothing but cream and chocolate. There is no sugar to mask inferior flavors - you are tasting quality chocolate. And she will tell you that "We don't caramelize the nuts first. Many chocolatiers do because it extends the shelf life, but our chocolates are fresh and move off the shelf rapidly."
Except for caramel which requires sugar, there is no additional sugar in any of these chocolates. Truffles are made the way truffles were intended to be made - just chocolate and cream, hand rolled, shaped like the equally rare truffle that grows under trees from which it gets its name.
The discovery of health benefits is good news to chocoholics everywhere. But Duke will also tell you that "chocolate is meant to be appreciated by the finer palate." Savor that healthy chocolate.