Best Example of Old World Chocolate is in Santa Fe
Mesoamerican elixirs at the Kakawa Chocolate House are the best example of old world chocolate. Have you ever wondered how the Aztecs, Mayans and other pre-Colombian cultures discovered chocolate and how they used it? You have probably heard that Montezuma drank a chocolate elixir that he believed gave him power and energy. This drink was a mixture of ground cocoa beans mixed with herbs, spices and chilies which were dissolved in water.
Once available to only the powerful elite in pre-Columbian America, now anyone can get a cup of this delicious drink thanks to Kakawa House. Kakawa Chocolate House, a specialty chocolate company in Santa Fe, has re-created these elixirs based on recipes from historical sources and these rich drinking chocolates are one of the most popular items they carry.
Kakawa is an Olmec word meaning cacao or chocolate. Kakawa Chocolate House is famous for its variety of delicious chocolates, but mostly for their authentic chocolate elixirs. You’ll find that these elixirs are very different from a cup of hot chocolate. Using a deep rich dark chocolate, they are much stronger. And because of their potency, they are served in a cup the size of an espresso cup. I’m here to tell you they pack as big of a punch as an espresso too! I found they aren’t as sweet as what we are typically used to in hot chocolate and have a much denser texture due to the added spices and chilies. For the culinary adventurer these complex chocolates should be tried. If you find a flavor you love, pick up a bag or two to take with you and re-create this drink at home.
See my tasting notes below of the ones I tried.
Kakawa’s Mesoamerican chocolate elixirs are:
- Aztec Warrior
This bitter sweet blend is full of chili fruit which starts with sweet on the palate and ends with a slow, smooth burn. This one is 100% unsweetened chocolate, agave nectar for some sweet, ancho chili for its heat and Mexican Vanilla. Yum!
- Mayan Full Spice
- Rose Almond
Rich, bittersweet chocolate but unspiced. Coconut sugar gives this unsweetened chocolate some goodness and the cocoa nibs give it some complexity.
The Europeans came to like chocolate after explorers from Central America introduced it to them. They put their own spin on the way it was made to suit their tastes. Kakawa House makes European chocolate elixirs based on historically documented recipes from the 1600’s – 1800’s. European chocolates vary in flavor and intensity.
European Elixirs are:
- 1666 Italian Citrus
- 1692 French Lavendar
Representative of historic drinking chocolate of the French court of Versailles, this elixir is highly scented, semi sweet and exotic.
- 1790’s Jeffersonian
- 1775 Marie Antoinette
This one is also a representative of the French court of Versailles. This was Marie Antoinette’s own recipe for drinking chocolate she brought with her from Vienna to the Royal Court of France. She added Orange Blossom water to her recipe. This elixir was my favorite with hints of orange, cinnamon, and vanilla.
In addition to these historical elixirs, Kakawa Chocolate House has created some of their own contemporary recipes like Chai, American and Tzul. Tzul is the Mayan word for dog and Kakawa makes a donation to the Santa Fe Humane Society and Animal Shelter with every cup sold.
Kakawa makes truffles, caramels, turtles, mendiants, bulk chocolate and now even home-made ice cream. Their in-house chocolates are made with 80% dark chocolate so everything here is smooth rich and decadent. They blend a batch fresh daily, guaranteeing the best quality.
Kakawa’s mission is to reintroduce you to chocolate. Their in-house elixirs are made with a choice of milk, soymilk, almond milk or coconut milk to accommodate any diet. They also have dairy-free and vegan confections. Their deliciously different variety of flavors of elixirs & confections; Cherry-Chili, Hibiscus Flower, Mescal, Earl Grey, will tempt any sweet tooth.
If you know of someone on your holiday gift list who loves chocolate or just likes trying different things, Kakawa Chocolate House has an assortment of gift packages!
Location: 1050 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
Mon – Sat 10am – 6pm
For more information on places to eat and things to do in the Santa Fe area visit: www.santafe.org.