- First appeared: February 8, 2017, ABQ Free Press
The Real Reason For The Season
Whether or not you celebrate the red and pink holiday, chocolates are always appropriate, so let’s find ourselves some happiness in the form of chocolate.
Now maybe you’re scouting for someone special, or maybe you just want a day to pig out on chocolate – either way, the abundance of sugar is undeniably irresistible.
Believe it or not, chocolate has some roots here in New Mexico. Just northwest, about 160 miles as the road goes, lies Chaco Canyon – where the delicious confection is believed to have made its first appearance in North America. Chaco Canyon was a massive trade center, and there is evidence chocolate made its way there from Central America. [Traces of theobromine, the principal compound in chocolate, have been discovered on pottery shards.]
Whether you’re a dark chocolate or milk chocolate, or even a white chocolate person, the upcoming stops will certainly satisfy your uncontrollable salivation.
First on the menu, is Joliesse Chocolates, a North Valley special.
Albuquerque to Joliesse Chocolates: 8 miles
6855 4th St NW, Los Ranchos De Albuquerque
When you enter Joliesse, the sweet aroma of chocolate and hot coffee awaken you.
The medley of sweets on the menu seems overwhelming, but give it time. The glass container of perfectly shaped and colored sweets is spectacular.
Joliesse is a family-owned business. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch someone making chocolate of some kind in the back.
I know it’s hard to leave, but the day is young and more chocolate needs to be had.
Make your way to Paseo del Norte and head east. After a while, you’ll turn left on Montgomery Boulevard. The next stop on the tour is in the Glenwood Village Shopping Center.
Joliesse Chocolates to Theobroma Chocolatier: 12.1 miles
12611 Montgomery Blvd NE, Albuquerque
Chocolate dipped oreos, chocolate covered popcorn, fun, silly shapes – if you are scouting for a gift for someone, Theobroma might be the stop. The chocolate roses are simple, but exquisite.
If you’re shopping for yourself – nothing wrong with that, it’s actually a good way to benefit from the sales – pick up some oversized chocolate aspirins, or some chocolate molded vehicles.
Unfortunately, they don’t have a seating area, so you have to take your chocolates on the road.
We’re heading to Santa Fe for the last bit of sugar indulgence.
Make your way to I-40, head west and merge to north I-25. If you’re a local, you know the way.
Theobroma Chocolatier to Kakawa Chocolate House: 62.8 miles
1050 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe
Chocolate wasn’t always known for its sweetness. Cacao, originally found in Central America, was a bitter drink until the Spaniards took it home where it received a serious makeover.
But, Kakawa Chocolate House stays true to that origin.
Everything is made in house. Their dedication to chocolate is unparalleled.
Start off with an elixir. In its most basic form, it is chocolate with some herbs, lightly sweetened. This isn’t your typical cup of hot chocolate. Your palate is about to experience something entirely different. As the name implies, the elixirs are energizing.
Why stop there? After you’ve let all of the chocolate settle, sample whatever calls out to you.
Their chili chocolates are almost too beautiful to eat. But you have to.
Kakawa Chocolate House to Albuquerque: 64.4 miles
Once you’re chocolated out, head home for some real food.
Stops: 3; Miles 147.3
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