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Cheese, Chocolate & Wine Stores in ABQ, SF & Taos?

Cheese, chocolate & wine, ah yes indeed. Can anyone suggest favorite stores in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, & Taos? We're not looking for a high-end wine store, but one that has a strong mid-range selection.

Cheers!

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  1. Wineries -
    Casa Rodena http://www.casarondena.com/
    Gruet http://www.gruetwinery.com/

    Retail:
    Kelly's http://www.kellyliquors.com/locations
    Jubilation http://www.jubilationwines.com/
    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

    ]

    Cheese -

    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.
    http://www.sfmarkets.com/

    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.
    http://lamontanita.coop/

    Chocolates -
    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.

    Deb

    6 Replies
      1. re: DebitNM

        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.

        1. re: finlero

          There are 2 cost plus in ABQ too - on Montgomery near Carlisle and one on west side near hooters.\\

          Sunflower Markets also have nice wines. But you are pretty much on your own their too as in most markets that are not specialty shops.

        2. re: DebitNM

          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.

          1. re: PitLab

            I don't think the OP was necessarily looking for "local".

            1. re: PitLab

              Hmm, I quite like the Denver store. The compelling reason is that the produce section is large, good, and far cheaper than WF.

          2. Try Kokoman Fine Wines and Liquors on 285 north of Santa Fe in Pojoaque . They have an amazing selection. Don't let the outside fool you.

            It's not chocolate but don't miss the pinon fudge at Senor Murphy, there is one at the La Fonda Hotel. Yummm!

            6 Replies
            1. re: kimmieokc

              The two ABQ branches of Keller's butcher shop (Coors at Montaño and Eubank at Candelaria) have a wonderful cheese selection.

              1. re: Erich

                Duh! Forgot Keller's - they have wonderful selection of meat and deli too.

                1. re: DebitNM

                  Thank you all for the great ideas. We seem to get to or through the area once or twice a year & we're looking forward to the trips even more now. Thanks, too, for providing links, that's very thoughtful.

                  Cheers!

              2. re: kimmieokc

                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!

                1. re: finlero

                  Hi finlero--from one transplanted Bostonian to another. Kokoman is the best wine store around. They used to be near the Railyard in SF--don't know why they moved all the way out to Pojauque. I too have heard that Susan's is very good but have not been there.

                  1. re: finlero

                    Thank you. It is an honor to be nominated!

                    The first time we walked in to Kokoman I just about fainted! Totally unexpected. When we visit NM we stay off 581 at Rancho Jacona and always stock up at Kokoman for the visit and to take home.

                2. 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,

                  1. You should also try St. Clair Winery and Bistro, near old town ABQ on Rio Grande BLVD. It has the largest selection of NM wines that you will find, reasonably priced, and good service as well if you decide to stay and check out an afternoon nosh or dinner.

                    1. Senor Murphy's is a favorite spot for chocolate and regional specialties like pinon brittle. My wife's favorite is Twin Peaks-- almonds in caramel dipped in chocolate.

                      www.senormurphy.com

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: meteorcrater

                        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.

                        Cheers!

                        1. re: FishTales

                          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.

                          1. re: desert rat

                            I definitely second Chocolate Smith!

                      2. Kakawa Chocolate House. Some of the best brownies I've ever had... Also great drinking chocolates.

                        1. 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.

                          1. 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.