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What is Chocolate Santa Fe?

In Bogotá, Colombia, it’s very common to see Chocolate Santa Fe on the menu. This popular drink is found on menus in the same area as coffee and tea. So what is it? It’s hot chocolate with cheese in it.

Stay with me here guys, I promise I’m not making this up.

chocolate santa fe

How Chocolate Santa Fe came to be

Hot chocolate has been a part of a traditional breakfast in Bogotá for a long time. Way back in the day, the typical breakfast would be served at a table and would include hot chocolate, a few chunks or slices of cheese, and perhaps some bread, all eaten separately. Apparently, as Bogota became more industrialized and Bogota natives had to travel longer distances to work, they simply did not have time to casually sip at hot chocolate and nibble at cheese. Time is money, people! So, instead of forgoing their delicious cheese, they just tossed it into their hot chocolate and drank the whole thing like a cheesey-chocolately soup.
What started as a time-saving technique became a traditional beverage, though it’s served mostly in Bogota, not all throughout Colombia.

Yes, I tried it

Normally, I’m all about putting cheese on/in pretty much anything as a way to improve my culinary experience, but I was pretty weirded out by the idea of just plopping a couple of chunks of cheese into my chocolately beverage. Of course, when I’m traveling, I’ll try a lot of weird foods. Plus, my friend’s dad was making a batch for breakfast so a cup of hot chocolate and a plate of cheese just kind of appeared in front of me, so what else was I supposed to do?

Honestly, it’s not that weird

The cheese they use is a pretty bland variety, so it’s not a pungent or sharp-flavor invading your sweet drink. Also, the cheese doesn’t ever fully melt, so what really ends up happening is you drink your hot chocolate like normal, then at the end you have little cheese treasures that have been soaking up chocolate for awhile. It’s really not that bad, but I honestly don’t understand the point. I have plenty of time and two hands, so I can sip chocolate and eat cheese without combining them. However, I can totally understand how it became a tradition and how one might come to love it, especially if you grew up drinking it.
So, if you’re ever in Bogota, I recommend giving Chocolate Santa Fe a try. You might actually like it. Also, the cheese is served on the side, so you could just think of it as a hot chocolate and cheese plate combo deal.

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