story and photos by Kayte Deioma
As if a chocolate spa treatment wasn’t enough, Santa Fe introduced me to my new best friend: weatherproof chocolate.
Chris White and Cliff Perry came up with the idea when they opened up a bag of melted chocolate after hiking on a hot summer day. The two of them founded Chocolate Smith, a chocolate shop in the funky 2 nd St. area of Santa Fe. From here they market their “weatherproof chocolate” to the world.
Consisting of various flavors of dark chocolate “paté” coated in Dutch cheese wax, the chocolate blocks are waterproof and resist “blooming,” the separation of ingredients that leaves chocolate splotchy and unappetizing after changes in temperature. The “paté” is a dark chocolate ganache, similar in consistency to fudge.
Several flavors of chocolate are available in the colorful weatherproof wax. Travel bars come in plain Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Orange Chili Chocolate and Nuts and Berries. These are the basic utilitarian “packer squares”, great for hiking, camping and other forms of travel. It’s a great gift to ship to friends and family members in Iraq, since it will survive both the trip and the heat.
In addition to the travel bars, the chocolate “paté” comes in a variety of fun, shippable weatherproof shapes. Two different chili chocolate “patés” come in Southwest-themed shapes. The Sunset Orange and Mucho Ancho chili chocolates come in the shape of red or green chili peppers, a cowboy boot or hat or a cactus. Other chocolate “patés” are formed into hearts, sunflowers, gingerbread boys, ducks and rainbow trout, all dipped in appropriately colored cheese wax.
I carried a “packer square” of Orange Chili Chocolate around in my purse forseveral days in the ninety degree heat of Santa Fe, then packed it in my checked luggage for the trip home. The plastic wrap got a little clingy with the wax, but came off easily. For the heck of it, I immersed the pink, orange and yellow wax-covered bar in water for a few minutes to put it through a pseudo rainy-day test.
After pealing away the wax, the chocolate was in perfect condition. The rich flavor of Dark Orange Chili has a nice bite, with no bitter aftertaste. It has a more fudgy texture than a regular chocolate bar, but if you’re craving chocolate under chocolate-unfriendly weather conditions, it will do the trick. The chocolate “patés” also come in large “party rounds” that resemble cheese wheels. “We have to tell people to peel off the wax,” says Kari Keenan of Chocolate Smith. “It’s still a new concept, and they think it’s edible.”
If you’ll have a chance to eat your chocolate without the threat of extreme weather conditions, Chocolate Smith has a slew of other gourmet chocolate treats with a Santa Fe twist. These include Dipped Caramel with Sea Salt, Pińon Caramel Squares, Cinnamon Crunch, Dipped Ginger and many more. The shop is also known for its chocolate barks in flavors like Red or Green Chili Pistachio Bark, Mocha Almond Bark, Mountain Bark, a white chocolate bark with coconut, cherries, almonds and toffee, and my new favorite, White Chocolate Lemon Lavender with Almonds. The Pecos Peanut Butter Fingers with a lingering chili bite are also addictive. To continue the Southwest theme, Chocolate Smith’s dark and white chocolate hand-painted pottery shards have also become quite popular.
All of the chocolates mentioned above are made in house. There are a few imported chocolates also available, as well as drinking chocolate from Kakawa Chocolate House, a local company that makes their drinking chocolate from ancient South American and not-quite-so-ancient European recipes.
Although Chocolate Smith is not a café – there’s no place to sit – they’ve recently made coffee available to enjoy with your chocolates. You can easily pass a half hour or so tasting the samples to find your favorites and learning all about their unique products.
If you can’t make it to Santa Fe, you can order your Weatherproof Chocolate from www.ChocolateSmith.com. They gladly ship to destinations around the world.