Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe has special meaning to me because, in a way, it launched my chocolate blogging path. That is, I was doing so-called practice reviews for some months before summer of 2008. But it was after that visit to Kakawa that I pitched myself to Chocablog.com and began writing for them (for about five years).
My most recent visit to Kakawa Chocolate House last month will this time launch me back into blogging. In fact, there was quite a bit from that trip to set the spark again after my recent blogging break. But we all need a break sometimes, right? And now that I'm coming back in, I have plenty of content, so those posts will be showing up in the coming weeks.
Now back to Kakawa. Arriving in Santa Fe, I thought a chocolate stop would be the perfect afternoon pick-me-up and time-filler before hotel check-in. While Kakawa Chocolate House also has iced tea and ice cream, their specialty is drinking chocolate. There are contemporary blends but the historical ones are more fun. I favor the feminine, European ones, but the closest thing on the day's menu was a Mesoamerican option, the Rose Almond. It's made with almonds, roses, Chipotle Morita Chili, and Mexican vanilla and sweetened with coconut sugar. One of the advantages with the historical chocolates is that they're mainly made with water (versus milk), so you sidestep the whole milk/milk-alternative question.
The drinking chocolates come in these lovely Oaxacan cups, which you can also purchase. Even if the small size seems too small at first, I definitely recommend it: these drinking chocolates are rich. The rose and almond gave some sweetness to the hefty chocolate, and the chili flavor developed in as a life-giving spark. It's chocolate to savor and to energize both. And of course if you want to take some home (or order from home), you can buy dry bags of the mix and make some at home.
I also got two truffles to enjoy there and a caramel for later. The Goat Cheese & Sage Truffle was quite the flavor experience. The sage gives the earthy quality (and also the Santa Fe/Southwest touch), and the goat cheese gives the creaminess. It was only perhaps a little too cheesy for me, so I would have preferred to split it with someone. But the flavors were wonderful to experience. The Horchata Truffle, made with canela and rice milk, felt very classic to me but is also uniquely Mexican-inspired for anyone especially wanting region specific flavors. Caramel and milk chocolate flavors carried out in a gourmet way is a sure winner for me.
The Rose Caramel I didn't photograph since I took it with me. It was a generous square covered in chocolate with I believe a touch of rose sugar on the corner, if memory serves me correct. And I'm sorry I didn't take a picture because I absolutely loved it. I've mentioned how I very much like rose and it doesn't show up in chocolate as often as other flavors like lavender do these days. And usually when you do find rose, it's paired with something else (like raspberry or cardamom). This was just a pure, strong, rose-flavored caramel dipped in chocolate. If I could get this where I live, it would be one of my go-to treats. It exactly satisfied my desire for rose flavor. I don't believe I've had Kakawa's caramels in the past. From this one, I'll definitely be tempted to try a few more flavors next time I'm in Santa Fe.
While there, I also purchased a couple of chocolate bars from other companies that I'll get to reviewing after I make my way through the New Mexico trip posts. So whatever it is you're after, Kakawa Chocolate House is a definite place to stop if you're in Santa Fe. Whether it's just a cup of drinking chocolate or some caramel or ice cream or a stash of chocolate bars, you'll be glad you stopped at the little brown adobe-style building on the corner. I always am.
Click here for Part 2.