Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe makes traditional chocolate elixirs, as well as such treats as chocolate-dipped chile de árbol —

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Today, cacao is a staple of Valentine’s Day chocolates, but the food is hardly a modern marvel. Indigenous peoples were consuming cacao in what is now the American Southwest more than a thousand years ago, long before it was shaped into truffles and packaged in heart-shaped boxes.

University of New Mexico archeology professor Dr. Patricia Crown led a team of researchers to two ground-breaking discoveries that placed chocolate in the Southwest centuries before it was thought to have arrived in the region.

Previously, the Spanish were thought to have carted it into the area in the 15th century. Crown

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