While off in New Mexico attempting to cure (or at least temporarily satiate) my wanderlust last month, my travel buddy Tyne and I headed to Santa Fe on our third day to see what there was to see there. It was kind of a disaster.
After two heady days of checking out some of the weird landscapes New Mexico has to offer, the city did not agree with us. Parking was difficult, and we kept getting turned around despite the small size of the old city center. Then it started to snow–granted, it only lasted about 10 minutes, but that was enough for us. We wanted to get back to the trees, rocks, and open sky.
However, we had to make one stop before heading out and I am so glad we did. Just blocks from the old Governor’s Palace in Santa Fe is the Kakawa Chocolate House, a cafe serving only historically-inspired chocolate confections. Hot chocolate (“drinking elixir”) recipes come from sources like Thomas Jefferson and the Aztecs, and other chocolate treats feature both classic and unique ingredients.
The cafe is small with limited seating (or at least seating was limited on a chilly Sunday afternoon) and New Mexican flair. A large chalkboard behind the counter lists which of the eighteen rotating hot chocolates are on tap each day, and glass cases display the confections for sale. Small tastes are available of each drink, and we were offered these right away. Sometimes I feel awkward asking to taste a drink before I order it, but the offer to sample as many as I liked made me feel very welcome.
We were greeted with a small sip of the most popular of the Kakawa House recipes, the American hot chocolate. It is the recipe that will seem most familiar to Americans–we tend to drink very sweet, creamy hot chocolate. However, this is no Swiss Miss. Made with 72% cacao and almond milk, it was rich and dark but not too dark.
The Aztec hot chocolate was the complete opposite, made with 100% cacoa and absolutely no sugar. Based on traditional Mesoamerican recipes, it also includes chiles, herbs, and other spices. I like a dark chocolate, and I like chiles in my chocolate, but it was very intense! Definitely not for the faint of heart.
I ended up ordering a cup of the Jeffersonian, which was like the American but with the inclusion of nutmeg. The 3 oz. portion, which seems awfully small when you think about it, was actually the perfect size to satisfy my sweet tooth. While Santa Fe was a little disappointing, Kakawa Chocolate House was amazing!