Cheese, Chocolate & Wine Stores in ABQ, SF & Taos?
Sorry to dredge up an oldish thread (again), but in the chocolate category, wanted to put CG Higgins Confections in SF on the radar, on the corner of Ninita and St. Francis. We dropped in last week and were really impressed. Great quality chocolate, interesting ingredient combinations (anise and black pepper, pistacchio and chipotle), nice little space a bit off the beaten path.
My favorite was an excellent cup of hot chocolate. They have a number of different choices, but I went with a Mexican chocolate with chipotle, smooth, spicy, and with a legitimate kick from the chile.
Still haven't tried Senor Murphy, but for my tastes, CG Higgins is significantly better than any of the other places in town.
Another vote for Kokoman's in Pojoaque. We actually went twice; on our way up to Taos and then on our way back to Santa Fe. It's right on the highway. We also checked out Susan's Fine Wine & Spirits which we would do if we weren't headed up to Taos. Both had nice selections and good prices.
As for cheese we got cheese from Whole Foods. They don't have the variety I'm use to but they had a nice selection.
We like the chocolates we found at Todos Santos in Sena Plaza. We liked the chocolate so much we went twice. We tried several, our favorites being the burnt carmel with dark chocolate and pink seasalt and a dark chocolate with orange rind and chili. There was also a coffee and dark chocolate one that came in a close third. They are $2.50 a piece but we thought well worth it.
If you are interested we went to Kakawa for the hot chocolate; My husband had the New Mexico hot chocolate which was made with cane sugar and cinnamon. I had the atole made with corn, chili and honey (dairy free). They were both delicious. There were made with a rich dark chocolate. I don't think they carry their full menu everyday but they do have allot to choose from. They were kind enough to let us sample several before choosing. We also sampled the flourless chocolate cake that was wonderful. Others in the shop were raving about their brownies.
Thanks for the new suggestions, much appreciated. We'll keep them in mind for our next visit.
The only place we found with a good (no, great!) selection of cheese was the Whole Foods in Santa Fe. No other place in any of the 3 cities even came close. Talking with a few of the folk behind the counter, the Santa Fe WF sells more cheese than all but 2 other stores in the chain (Washington DC & Chicago, were they?).
Susan's Wine & Spirits, also in Santa Fe, has a fine selection of wine & beer. The staff seems a little rushed but is knowledgeable.
The only chocolate place we tried was, yes, Senor Murphy's. Good chocolate, so-so fudge.
No one mentioned Chocolate Smith on Cerrilos Rd in Santa Fe, just south of Whole Foods. They do dark chocolate. Awesome. As for wine, there's also Liquor Barn on Cerrillos at Siler. Their wine guy is very knowledgeable. They also stock some hard-to-find spirits, like grappa and kirschwasser.
Agree with previous suggestions of Whole Foods, Quarter's and Kelly's for wine. Whole Foods also has an excellent cheese section. I strongly disagree with the Theobroma Chocolate suggestion. Their stuff is like wax. See's has a store in Coronado Mall which is my favorite. Not familiar with Armour or Enchantment. Candy Lady is so-so,
kimmieokc, I'm nominating you for Outstanding NM Chowhound Tip of the Month (not sure if that month is August or October, but still...)
Kokoman Fine Wines and Liquors is AWESOME. Downright amazing assortment of higher end wines ($30 - $100 seems to be the forte here), including the best selection of French and Italian bottles I've seen in the state, not to mention plenty of American and Southern Hemisphere choices. Also a remarkably good collection of ports, sakes, dessert wines, and spirits.
Prices ranged from ok to great, with best value seeming to be at the high end (say, over $50). I didn't get the impression there were too many wine nerds on staff to pontificate on which 2001 Brunello was drinking better right now, so perhaps better to go in with some advance knowledge or a smartphone, but the goods are there if you want 'em.
I don't know how or why Kokoman exists, but I'm really pleased it does. Thanks again!
Quarters 3 locations:
#1 801 Yale SE [near airport] (505) 247-8579
#2 4516 Wyoming Blvd NE (505) 299-9864
#3 3700 Ellison Rd NW [westside] (505) 897-3341
Trader Joes 8929 Holly Ave NE (505) 796-0311 [east of I 25, off Paseo del Norte
I am hard pressed to think of shops that have only cheese. Trader Joes has a nice selection. There are Whole Foods too. A sort of local version of Trader Joe's called Sunflower has nice selection and they are in several locations across town.
Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Sunflower are in Santa Fe too.
La Montanita Coop [anyone can shop there] located in Nob Hill in ABQ and also
has nice things too.
Candy Lady in Old Town ABQ http://www.thecandylady.com/
Theobroma Chocolatier http://www.theobromachocolatier.com/
Enchantment Chocolates 3107 Eubank Blvd NE (505) 294-2470.
Amour Chocolates 2412San Mateo Place NE 505-881-2803
Not sure about Cheese shops in Santa fe.
Taos - not a lot in the way of gourmet food, best bring it up with you from SF.
For wine, there's a Cost Plus up here in Santa Fe too. Although to be honest, in my experience, unless you know what you're doing (and I certainly don't), you're much better off going to a so-called "high end wine store", giving the staff your tastes and budget, and putting yourself in their hands. Any shop with a half-decent staff will take it as matter of personal pride to get you the most bang for your buck at any price range.
Along these lines, I'll throw in a SF rec for Susan's Fine Wine and Spirits, near the intersection of Cerrillos and St. Francis. Having just moved to Santa Fe from Boston, I was really pleased to find the prices on their French and Italian bottles a few ticks cheaper than what I could find back east. The bottles I bought were in the $20 - $30 range, but they had a nice selection in the $10s as well. Knowledgeable and friendly staff too.
Sunflower is not exactly local to NM other than Boulder, Taos and Santa Fe share several cosmic, ridiculous traits. Sunflower was founded by one of the ex-owners of Wild Oats. I find their Boulder store to be not quite Whole Foods and not quite Safeway with no compelling reason to shop there.