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Santa Fe’s Chocolate Trail Top Stops

Calling all chocolate lovers! Did you know that Santa Fe has a Chocolate Trail? 

As we travel the world, I make it a point to try the local food and drinks and to never-ever leave out chocolate. What can I say! I love chocolate and desserts, so when I heard that Santa Fe has an abundance of chocolate shops and touts a specific Chocolate Trail, I had to at least make one stop… well, maybe two.

If you like your chocolate with a kick, Kakawa creates chocolate with chilis for a true historic and New Mexico taste.

If you like your chocolate with a kick, Kakawa creates chocolate with chilis for a true historic and New Mexico taste.

The six main Santa Fe Chocolate Trail stops include Art of Chocolate/ Cacao Santa Fe, C.G. Higgins Confections, Kakawa Chocolate House, Señor Murphy Candymaker, The Chocolate Smith and Todos Santos. That’s a lot of chocolate. We trekked to two stops out of the six on the Chocolate Trail for a deeper dive and were not disappointed.

Bonnie Bennett and I sat down to drink chocolate and talk about its Mayan and Aztec roots.

Bonnie Bennett and I sat down to drink chocolate and talk about its Mayan and Aztec roots.

Santa Fe’s culture isn’t just reflected in the architecture, it’s also reflected in the food, and on Santa Fe’s Chocolate Trail, two stops in particular incorporate history and culture into delicious creations. Todos Santos’ tiny shop is known for making silver and gold covered chocolate in the shape of religious folk charms, called Milagros or miracles, which many people collect. Kakawa Chocolate House specializes in chocolate elixirs based on pre-Colombian and other historical recipes.

Inside Todos Santos shop, which is packed with chocolate and a feast for the eyes and stomach.

Inside Todos Santos shop, which is packed with chocolate and a feast for the eyes and stomach.

If you’re downtown in Santa Fe, you can walk to Todos Santos. Owner Hayward Simoneaux has had this tiny shop located in the Sena Plaza courtyard in an adobe style historic building off of East Palace Avenue, about a block from the Santa Fe Plaza, since 1999. If you’re looking to gift chocolate from Santa Fe to friends back home, you’ll definitely find well-presented items in this shop.

Owner Hayward Simoneaux introduced me to his festive style of chocolates at Todos Santos.

Owner Hayward Simoneaux introduced me to his festive style of chocolates at Todos Santos.

It’s filled with colorful and cute artisan chocolate treats, including truffles of various sorts and the too-pretty-to-eat Milagros, “small charmlike silver and gold offerings made to saints,” out of Valrhona chocolate. You’ll also find your Day of the Dead themed chocolates here.

The beautiful milagros at Todos Santos are crafted as religious folk charms to bring good fortunate and healing.

The beautiful milagros at Todos Santos are crafted as religious folk charms to bring good fortunate and healing.

Day of the Dead style chocolates at Todos Santos.

Day of the Dead style chocolates at Todos Santos.

At Kakawa Chocolate House, Bonnie Bennett and her husband parlayed their love of chocolate into a family business. They focus on making chocolate that has a story. All of the recipes are well researched, so you can learn about history while sipping or biting into something tasty. Bonnie introduced me to their Mayan chocolate elixir, which is made with a complex blend of twenty-two different herbs, spices, florals, nuts and chile, the way the Aztecs and the Mayans would have imbibed their chocolate.

Gourmet and special hot chocolate is on tap at Kakawa Chocolate House.

Gourmet and special hot chocolate is on tap at Kakawa Chocolate House.

“So many people don’t know that people started drinking chocolate and enjoying chocolate, thousands and thousands of years ago,” said Bonnie, as we sipped on a spicy, dark, and thick pure chocolate drink. “So you get a little bit of that flavor right at the tip of your tongue, and you get different herbs and spices and the flavor layers just kind of come one after another and then a really good punch of chile right in your pallet.”

Take your pick from the Elixir of the day.

Bonnie also touted the one hundred percent dark chocolate used as a base for many of their elixirs with its super high antioxidant value, something I could get behind.

Just one of the many cool experiences you can have in Santa Fe. For more food and drink stops, check out other food and drink stops in Santa Fe, including the Margarita Trail.

 

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe.

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