TWO YEARS AGO, a couple from Houston stopped in to Eldora Chocolate, in Albuquerque, for a tour and tasting. When owner Steve Prickett asked the visitors what else they were doing in town, they said, “Nothing. We came for the tour and to buy chocolate. We do this in every state.”

Now, Prickett says, “I’m getting that kind of visit at least once a week.” The store’s popularity could stem from Eldora’s No. 4 status on USA Today’s 2023 list of the 10 best chocolate shops across the United States. That honor is grounded in Eldora being one of only a handful of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in New Mexico, meaning the company is wholly committed to the use of organic, fair-trade ingredients and artisan techniques.

Eldora’s drinking chocolate, made in the Aztec and Olmec traditions, uses beans sourced from around the world. “We personalize it using New Mexico flavors,” Prickett says. During the holiday season, in addition to classic, chai, and mole varieties, Eldora offers pumpkin spice and peppermint drinking chocolates mixed with customers’ choice of water, grass-fed milk, or oat milk. “It turns it into a real experience versus just grabbing a cup of hot chocolate,” he says.

In December, tours of the factory—complete with I Love Lucy–style plastic hairnets—take place Tuesday through Thursday at 1 p.m. Sign up on Eldora’s website, where drinking-chocolate mixes are available to order along with truffles, single-origin chocolate bars, gift baskets, and other seasonal delights.

Read more: Jimmy Punzo has taken all his baking knowledge to create a biscochito that would make your abuela proud.

Hot chocolate has never tasted so scrumptious, thanks to New Mexico red chile and a host of holiday spices, in this recipe from chef Rocky Durham, which appears in The New Mexico Magazine Centennial Cookbook. ¡Salud!

  • 1 2-ounce tablet Mexican
  • chocolate (such as Ibarra)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon anise seed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon hot New Mexican     red chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons blue cornmeal
  • 2½ cups milk or half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • Pinch of salt

Makes about 3 cups

1. Grate chocolate tablets.

2. Place all ground spices in a saute pan over medium heat. Stirring frequently, toast spices until slightly darker and aromatic. Add chile powder and toast 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove spices from pan and set aside.

3. In small saucepan, toast cornmeal over medium heat until aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk or half-and-half and whisk to combine thoroughly.

4. Add all the rest of ingredients to the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve in mugs.