Originally published in Taos News
The Mayans knew it. Chocolate isn’t only a delicious treat, but it is actually good for your overall health.
The mention of hot chocolate conjures images of blissful winter evenings—snow falling outside, a warm fireplace in a cozy room and fingers curling around a steaming mug. Yet chocolate is also a health food; research has shown that it boosts the brain’s blood supply and is full of antioxidants.
We have researched a number of coffee houses and restaurants in Taos where you can indulge, guilt-free, in the chocolate experience.
Organic and artistic
The Farmhouse Café and Bakery, located in the Overland Ranch, serves a sensational hot chocolate in tall mugs with “Taos quotes” written on them, made by local artist Mandy Stapleford. “We strive to combine local art and local food,” said owner Micah Roseberry. Their hot chocolate is made with a base of organic milk, though they can also use soy or almond milk, depending on people’s dietary needs. The chocolate is fair-trade, and also has cacao in it. Roseberry adds a hint of cinnamon and the light spiciness of chile to the mix, and crowns it with organic whipping cream and a shave of chocolate on top. Pair it with homemade bread pudding and you will get the perfect winter snack.
The best of three worlds
Gutiz, known for its Latin French fusion cuisine, offers two distinctive kinds of hot chocolate, each prepared with their own special recipe. You can warm your belly with a Mexican hot chocolate infused with red chile and cinnamon, or try something even more unusual, the very own Gutiz hot chocolate, prepared with rich cocoa and a hint of yellow curry and cinnamon—a surprisingly delicious combination of flavors that results into an intense and savory drink. “Some customers like to mix them and have the curry, the chile and the cinnamon together,” said Gutiz co-owner Jennifer Paterson. “The best of three worlds!” Both are topped with whipping cream.
Drop a rock in your chocolate
Purrfect drinks with a lot of oomphs. Coffee Cats, located in the historic John Dunn House Shops, serves a big selection of espresso, chocolate and chai drinks. The place is also known for its rock bar—patrons can combine drinks with natural stones like aventurine, amethyst, jasper, smoky quartz or citrine…and this is called a rocktail. You can’t go wrong with the Ocelot (a chocolate hazelnut latte) or the Black Panther (a chocolate raspberry latte). Both come with a generous amount of whipped cream on top and are made with Ghirardelli chocolate.
The World Cup Café is well known for its coffee drinks but its Mexican hot chocolate deserves extra praise. This spicy and rich mix comes with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon, which the barista used to make a beautiful design, almost too cute to drink. There is a selection of pastries as well—almond croissants are great companions to the hot chocolate.
Chocolate on the snow
Want to drink something warm without unbuckling your boots? With two convenient locations in TaosSkiValley, Black Diamond Espresso serves hot coffee and chocolate drinks as well as energy boosters, which makes it the perfect place for a short and comforting stop in the middle of a long ski day. “It’s the right spot to go for a cup of hot chocolate when you start to feel tired and cold,” said regular client Gary James. They are called “the hot chocolate experts in the ski valley” and offer a variety of drinks made with dark, white and Mexican chocolate. “If you are hungry, they also have fresh baked treats and granola,” said James. One location is in the resort center, on the upper deck and the other one, mostly accessible to skiers, is right on the snow, in front of the Phoenix Grill, by Chairlift # 4.Farmhouse Cafe and Bakery is located at 405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, El Prado Phone: 575-758-5683 Gutiz is located at 812 Paseo DelPueblo Norte Phone: (575) 758-1226 Coffee Cats is located at 124 F Bent St. Phone: (575) 758-0606 World Cup Cafe is located at 102 Paseo DelPueblo Norte Phone: (575) 737-5299 Black Diamond Espresso is located at 122 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley Phone: 575-770-3122