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!

Heating It Up | A Toast to the Taos Winter Wine Festival
Wine bottles with snow-covered trees.

A few years ago, on a Saturday in February, I schussed down Taos Mountain, and decided that my ski boots needed an adjustment. I headed immediately to Taos Ski Valley’s slope-side Boot Doctors, where I plopped down next to a friendly guy also getting his footwear fine-tuned. Our conversation began as casual banter about the store’s legendary service. In our few side-by-side minutes, I realized that the friendly guy was a legend himself, Napa Valley winemaker Steve Matthiasson. I skied … Read More

Luminaria’s Chef Tony Smith
Chef Tony's green chile arancini.

Like many folks, Chef Tony Smith thought he was coming for a brief visit with family. Santa Fe snared him, though, and the city’s tastier for that twist of fate. These days, the jovial young chef is creating flavor-packed modern American food with a Southwestern flair at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. CULTURE STEEPED IN HISTORY If you haven’t been in the Inn and Spa at Loretto in recent years, its new-ish owner, Heritage Hotels and Resorts, has substantially … Read More

Albóndigas: A Classic New Mexican Comfort Food
Sopa de Albondigas in a bowl.

Albóndigas: We’re talking meatballs! From Morocco’s kefta and Turkey’s köfte, to Germany’s Königsberger klopse, meatballs are beloved around the globe. The version called albóndigas went anywhere in the world colonized by the Spanish. Like just about every other dish that came to New Mexico from elsewhere, cooks here made it their own. A BOWL OF CLASSIC COMFORT Spooning into a bowl of albóndigas can feel like a warm hug, and make even a lousy day look a little brighter. In … Read More

Featured Shopping