Years ago, on my first trip to Santa Fe, while taking in the red adobe of the Palace of the Governors and considering whether fringe jackets could be a real look for me, I came across the sublimely unique and delicious drinking “elixirs” at Kakáwa Chocolate House. At the time of this first visit I was young, it was a cold Thanksgiving winter, and I considered myself to be a hot chocolate connoisseur. With too much of a sweet tooth to suffer the bitterness of coffee, and craving the depth of flavor over that of tea, I drank more hot chocolate than any other caffeinated drink as if it didn’t cause cavities. I know when someone uses a syrup (most hotels), I know when the milk is too hot it spoils the chocolate, and I know when the whole thing is so heavy it’ll make your stomach ache. While I’ve stopped drinking hot chocolate regularly for years now, the memory of a particular drink at Kakáwa has stuck in my brain so much that on this third trip to Santa Fe, I had to see if they still had the “elixir” that bewitched me all those years ago.
Kakáwa is a small shop in a rather unremarkable strip-mall/shopping center and when I first saw it on the map, I didn’t think it could possibly be “boutique” considering the location. But I was very wrong. Like many of the buildings in Santa Fe, this one felt like I was stepping back in time: raw wood on the ceiling, a cozy fireplace and dried chilis greet you at the door. It was the unique little chocolate shop I had hoped it would be.
The drinking elixirs they make are based on recipes from ancient Mesoamerica and medieval Europe and are the specialty of the cafe. Now that we were back, I had my eye on one in particular: the Marie Antoinette drinking chocolate that I ordered that very first time.
Now, my love of France is a given (did I mention I married a Frenchman?), but when I set my eyes on this hot chocolate – it was love at first sight. The mix is 72% pure chocolate, almond milk and orange blossom water – a heady floral mix that had me slurping it up. I love flower extracts so when I took my first sip, it was like finding an old, sweet friend.
The liquid chocolate is smooth and flavorful without being too heavy. You know that sickly sweet feeling you get when hot chocolate is just too thick and loaded with sugar? Well, the Marie Antoinette was exactly opposite to that – light, refreshing with the finish of a blooming bouquet.
And speaking of flowers, I couldn’t resist a caramel flavored with Bulgarian rose oil – yum!
Lucky for me, Jon ordered chocolate ice cream, which looked incredible. I’ll just take a bite…
We enjoyed our snacks in the shaded outdoor seating area, which despite the heat, ended up being perfectly cool. Next time you’re in Santa Fe, be sure to stop by and drink a little taste of the enchanting elixirs Kakáwa has to offer. You too might find yourself equally bewitched.
For more information, visit the Kakáwa Chocolate House website here. And check out this NYTimes article that features them! Do you know any places to get outstanding hot chocolate? Share with me in the comments below!