What has chocolate got to do with the American Southwest? As it turns out, quite a lot!
I happened upon Cacao Santa Fe at the recent New Mexico Artisan Market, and was immediately captivated by a box of truffles with exquisite black and white surface decorations that were inspired by the indigenous cultures of Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico.
Melanie Boudar, co-owner of Cacao Santa Fe, explained that the truffles were created from the finest chocolate mixed with Southwestern-sourced fruits, berries, nuts and spices – and that the surface decorations were far from superficial.
Scholarly research has revealed that numerous Chaco Canyon pottery vessels used by the ancestral Puebloans (also known as the Anasazi) from 1000-1125, and even earlier Puebloan pottery from southeastern Utah, have tested positive for theobromine, the main ingredient in chocolate.
That might seem unremarkable, but cacao originated in the Amazon basin and was later cultivated and consumed by the Mayan cultures of Mexico. Since it requires a tropical climate for growth, it could not have been cultivated in the Southwest.
For this reason, scholars have come to the startling conclusion that, as early as 800 A.D., cacao had made its way 1,500 miles northward to Puebloan lands via migration and trade, most likely with the Mayan and Yucatan people of Mexico.
Cacao Santa Fe is Santa Fe’s only bean to bar chocolate producer, with cacao percentages ranging from 60-90%. They freshly grind over 15 kinds of local chile and spices for use in their truffles, are trained members of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, and have won many chocolate industry awards. With Cacao Santa Fe chocolates, you’re assured the very finest ingredients, as well as a bit of ancient history, in every bite.