When a place has a name like Chocolate Maven, you'd probably expect the walls and fixtures to be made of chocolate, not to mention every single thing for sale.
But you're not entirely right.
While Santa Fe's Chocolate Maven does have a highly respectable offering of chocolate goodies, it's got a whole lot more than just chocolate going on. It's a bakery / cafe / tea shop / restaurant. They have a counter in the front filled with fresh bread and baked goods, ranging from breakfast type items to cakes and pies. And cupcakes!
In the back, it's a restaurant, where they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For sweets lovers, the brunch (chocolate almond crepes! Peach compote French Toast!), High Tea (Champagne Tea for two: two types of finger sandwiches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, two glasses of champagne!) and dessert menus in particular will probably be of interest.
When it comes to the baked goods, I haven't sampled extensively, but I have enjoyed what I have tried (um, none of it with chocolate). First, the mexican wedding cake. This is absolutely one of my favorite types of cookies: soft, crumbly, luxuriantly buttery, and nutty to boot. The Maven's version was a very nice size--not teeny tiny, but with a nice heft to it. The flavor was just perfect--the buttery nuttiness rendered completely addictive with the addition of sweet confectioners' sugar.
The cherry tart was also highly pleasant - with a rich, crumbly crust which acted as the tasty bed for a dollop of custard topped with sweet cherries. I felt like chocolate shavings would have been a nice addition to this dessert, but this thought didn't in any way keep any part of the tart from being devoured.
Chocolate Maven has won a ton of awards over the years, and I can see why. They do sweet stuff right. And you know what? I really can't wait to get back here to try some of the other things on the menu, like hazelnut cheesecake or an almond fudge brownie, or the Mayan chile hot chocolate, or the Mocha Mousse Petit Four Grande with Caramel Sauce (try saying that five times fast!).
Chocolate Maven, 821 W. San Mateo Road, Santa Fe NM; online here.