Mr.D and I have just returned from a trip to Santa Fe to celebrate our anniversary. We revisited romantic restaurants, favorite places in the surrounding desert, museums and galleries. And made new discoveries like this very fine chocolate shop. Todos Santos (All Saints) located in the Sena Plaza Courtyard. The art assemblage over the doorway is an invitation hard to miss. And the party inside is an unforgettable over the top inventive mardi gras whimsical religious irreverent festival of chocolates confections and edible art.
The Sena Plaza Courtyard is enclosed by The Sena House, one of Santa Fe’s oldest surviving hacienda style adobes built in the 1700s. It’s on virtually every top 10 list of things to see in the city and sits one block off the main plaza (city square.) The thirty-three rooms and ballroom are now occupied by shops, offices, La Casa Sena restaurant, a wine store, and…..
Vamos a celebrar! (Let’s celebrate!)
Owner Hayward Simoneaux is recognized as one of the top ten artisan chocolatiers by Chocolatier Magazine. He has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Gourmet Magazine, Forbes Life, Vogue, and appeared on The Food Network via Giada De Laurentiis Weekend Getaway, Top Five and Food Finds. His shop has been described as “a tiny folk art filled jewel box of a store.”
This silver heart is one of the custom Milagros chocolates that Todos Santos is known for. Milagros means ‘miracles.’ People of the American Southwest, Latin American countries, and parts of Europe buy little metal charms for good luck and healing prayers. Religious folk charms. They carry them in their pockets, take them to their place of worship and put them in shrines.
Most milagros are created for one purpose, although some have several meanings. Hearts can represent the healing of a physical heart ailment, a lover’s broken heart, or prayer for romance. An eye milagro can be the prayer charm for failing eyesight, or an artist who seeks new vision for their work.
Body parts, religious scenes of enlightenment, bride and grooms, babies, pets, animals, houses. They come in many forms.
Hayward’s are made from Valrhona chocolate with 23 kt. edible gold and silver leaf. So you can receive the blessing of the milagro along with the gift of eating one of the finest chocolates you’ve ever tasted. He also creates Saints, Buddhas, and Astrological Signs.
The packaging is the part of the gift you keep forever.
All of the chocolates, truffles and toffees are handmade. Some shine like dark brown jewels.
An artist by the name of Rick Phelps creates the eclectic papier mache art boxes and packaging.
Day of the Dead / Mardi Gras inspired art.
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday also recognized in the American Southwest (and by many families around the world) when everyone gathers to remember friends and family who have passed away. Mardi Gras is a grand Carnival of eating and celebration before Lent, and is a New Orleans tradition.
Hayward lives in Santa Fe and was born in New Orleans. He started out making chocolates with molds, and then created his own custom forms.
Packaging and confection themes change with the seasons.
It is all very much a treasure trove where you can return every day and find something new. Unexpected. Playful. Irreverent.
The ceiling is also full of color, flower branches and dangling sparkly ornaments.
Flower sunburst boxes, ladybugs, mushrooms, more truffles. Some sprinkled in gold leaf. And the pink heart. I seem to have subconsciously decided that I must have it. When I edited through my photos it showed up in over a third of them.
Longhorns and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A Pink Lady.
Folk art candy dispensers.
How does anyone ever choose? It wasn’t easy but after much consideration, Mr.D and I selected a custom sampling of five. Starting at the bottom right, a truffle with smoked pasilla chile (smoked dried poblano) and dusted with cocoa powder. How perfect, the one resembling a tiny adobe brick had chile heat. To the left, candied nuts with orange peel on dark chocolate. Top left, a signature dark chocolate truffle. The heart that I’d already decided on but didn’t know it was a Valentine of white chocolate and a dark chocolate center with rose water. Roses and high grade luxury chocolate, oh yes I chose well. In the pink foil, a chocolate covered cherry with kirsch. If you are not a fan of chocolate covered cherries, I was told and am now a true believer that this one will change your mind.
A beautiful spring day in Santa Fe, in an historic romantic courtyard, sitting under a shade tree, eating enchanting edible art, with my husband on our anniversary trip. This was one of those moments when you look at your sweetheart and say ‘todos mis mananas para ti.’
‘All of my tomorrows are for you.’ While I was busy taking photos, Mr.D bought this painted metal milagro and surprised me with it when we got home.
Many thanks to Hayward and to Harmony for the tour, your time, and letting us play in your shop.
Website: they don’t have one
Email: why bother with email when there’s a perfectly good telephone and fax line?
Phone: 505 982 3855 Fax: 505 982 7947
Sena Plaza Courtyard
125 East Palace Avenue, Suite 31
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
NOTE: Look for forthcoming posts all tying into ‘The Perfect Romantic Day in Santa Fe.”