Two Great Places for Decadent Chocolate in Santa Fe
Hot chocolate with whipped topping and chocolates at Kakawa Chocolate House.
Find these delights at Kakawa Chocolate House.

Santa Fe is blessed with a variety of sweet choices in the world of chocolate. We have Chocolate Maven in midtown, Sweet Santa Fe at the Fashion Outlets of Santa Fe, and Señor Murphy, with multiple locations around town. There’s even an elegant women’s store near the plaza, called Chocolate & Cashmere, that sells two things — yes, chocolate and cashmere!

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I thought I’d focus on a pair of places that I love to visit for their deep dark versions of the purported aphrodisiac. Just stopping in at either The Chocolate Smith or Kakawa Chocolate House puts me in a great mood. There’s plenty to buy for significant others in your life, with dozens of heart boxes, bags, and other fun packaging to tuck the treasures into. It’s easy to select any price point to tell someone you care about them. If you lack a certain someone in your life right now, you can choose to treat yourself. In fact, The Chocolate Smith even has a box tagged “Fall in Love with Yourself.” It could be the best advice ever!


The Chocolate Smith's Fall in Love with Yourself assortment.
The Chocolate Smith invites you to indulge yourself this Valentine’s Day.

The Chocolate Smith is on Cerrillos Road across from the Railyard Park. Kari and Jeff Keenan created this take-out shop that has a vaguely vintage feel. They specialize in a proprietary blend of two Guittard dark chocolates. I particularly like the red and green chile barks here. The green comes plain or in a version topped with dried cranberries to make it especially festive. Try some of the white chocolate and lavender bark too, an inspired combination.

I find it hard to resist the piñon caramels, or the peanut butter bars bathed in dark chocolate with a silky peanut butter ganache center. One of the treasures here is the dark chocolate sauce. You’ll find doily-topped Mason jars of it inside a 1950s-era refrigerator in a corner of the store. I buy this regularly, always planning to use it to top ice cream or pound cake, or maybe to dunk strawberries. However, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten farther than eating it by the spoonful straight out of the fridge. Speaking of strawberries, for the holiday, the staff will be slathering big plump berries with chocolate, to pick up between February 11 and 14.

If milk chocolate is your deal, The Chocolate Smith offers some charmingly packaged milk chocolate fondue that you simply heat up to enjoy. By the way, the Keenans own Whoo’s Donuts next door, so you might want to pick up a few of those tasty specialties on your way out too.


Kakawa chocolate choices on display at store.
What to pick from Kakawa Chocolate House’s tantalizing selection of chocolates?

Another couple, Bonnie and Tony Bennett, operates Kakawa Chocolate House, a charming adobe along Paseo de Peralta. (Two branches are mentioned below, as well.) Their truffles come in classic flavors and in more exotic combinations like mezcal, or prickly pear, or goat cheese with sage. Little chocolate disks called mediants are an option, along with the most sensuous “peppermint patties” I’ve ever found. The caramels are a deeply flavored buttery indulgence too.

Perhaps even more special here are the chocolate elixirs. Some are based on recipes from Mesoamerica, where chocolate was first consumed as a beverage. Others use later European formulas, the kind of blends that Thomas Jefferson or perhaps Marie Antoinette might have enjoyed. In either case, you can find out the full backstory on each blend.

Sweetened lightly with coconut sugar, and sometimes scented with chile, mixed spices, or even rose petals, these are hot chocolates of the highest order. The elixirs can be enjoyed on site, served up in striking cobalt and white Mexican ceramics, at one of a handful of Mexican equipale tables and chairs. The elixirs are also packaged, to take home, if you prefer.

Green chile bark topped with dried cranberries at The Chocolate Smith.
Green chile chocolate bark topped with dried cranberries is available at The Chocolate Smith.

Kakawa Chocolate House is also involved with a special V-Day event at Susan’s Fine Wine & Spirits. “Champagne & Truffles” takes place Monday, February 13, at 5 p.m. You’ll need a reservation for this intimate seminar on sparkling wine accompanied by a pair of Kakawa chocolate truffles. Call Susan’s at 505-984-1582 for details.

Wishing you a passionate week ahead.

The Chocolate Smith

851B Cerrillos Road

Kakawa Chocolate House

Valentine's Day display at Kakawa Chocolate in Santa Fe.
Love is in the air at Kakawa Chocolate House’s three locations.

1050 Paseo de Peralta (Flagship)

851 West San Mateo

1300 Rufina #A4 (around the curve from Meow Wolf)


Story by Cheryl Alters Jamison. Cheryl Alters Jamison

Four-time James Beard Foundation Book Award-winning author Cheryl Alters Jamison is the host of Heating It Up on KTRC and is now the “queen of culinary content” for Find new stories about the Santa Fe food scene each week on

Read Cheryl Alters Jamison’s bio here.
This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

Please Share!

Pecan Biscochito Ice Cream Recipe | Heating It Up
Pecan Biscochito Ice Cream

I served participants in my food writing workshops at the Santa Fe Literary Festival a couple of New Mexico’s best-loved desserts, biscochitos and creamy natillas custard. The next day, I interviewed the founder of Legacy Pecans in Las Cruces, Heather Salopek. I started musing about a mash-up of those flavors. That reminded me of a custardy ice cream with mix-ins of our state cookie and the Southern New Mexican pecan crop that I had written about a decade ago. The … Read More

Peach Crisp Recipe | Heating It Up
Peach crisp with peaches in background.

It’s a luscious year for peaches around Santa Fe and north to Palisade, Colorado, home of legendary stone fruit. If you haven’t yet discovered the Palisade Peach Guy, whose tent is right beside Piccolino restaurant on Agua Fria, get over there right away. His crew is there every day through the season, starting at 8 a.m. I’m using peaches in everything. Well, sometimes, they’re the meal, simply eaten out of hand over the sink, juice running down my wrist. Other … Read More

The Pantry: Three Comfort Food Destinations
The Pantry stuffed sopaipilla.

If you look at’s archives of articles about good eats, you’ll find several mentions of The Pantry. It rates on just about everyone in the know’s lists for Santa Fe’s top breakfasts and favorite comfort food classics. I decided to write about it again, though, after a recent lunch there. Darn, I just love a place where everything works, and that more than delivers on its promise. As I thought about it, I realized I’ve felt that way for … Read More

Featured Shopping