My name is Mark Sciscenti. I am a chocolate historian, chocolate artisan, pastry chef and herbalist. What I've written below is from my bio.
Mark's passion is chocolate. Having grown up in an archaeological family, he is fascinated by food and spice history. The creator, originator and former owner of Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe, NM, he has been studying the history of chocolate since 2000, from its beginnings in Mesoamerica and Central America through the European transgression and up to the present day.
Being an excellent creative alchemist, Mark has developed historically accurate and authentic drinking chocolates based upon traditional ancient Mesoamerican information, historic European and American recipes. Most of these chocolate elixirs are complex, aromatic, rich and spicy creations. Mark is devoted to the creation and presentation of this traditional form of chocolate.
Mark has been giving lectures and educational presentations on the history of chocolate along with professional chocolate tastings since 2002 to museums, conferences, institutions, schools and business. He has lectured on the history of chocolate at among many events, the: Pangea Pediatric Conference, NYC, NY, November 2008; Northwest Chocolate Festival, Portland, OR, September 2008; Book Exp America, University of Arizona Press, Los Angels, CA, May 2008; 3rd Annual Natural Health Symposium, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, TX, November 2005; A Maya Weekend Conference, Sedona, AZ, October 2005; at Columbia University for the 10th annual Botanical Medicine Conference at the New York Botanical Garden, NY, NY June 2005; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for their 23rd Annual Mayan Weekend, PA, April 2005; the University of Arizona’s Integrative Medicine Nutrition & Health Conference, Tucson AZ, March 2005; “Painting a New World, Mexican Art and Life, 1521 - 1821” art exhibit. Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, May 2004; The History of Chocolate - Mesoamerican & Historic Spanish Chocolate: “Ceramica y Cultura: The Story of Spanish and Mexican Mayolica”, Museum exhibit opening. Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM, November 2002.
Mark is a pastry chef and has been a professional and self-taught experimental baker since 1984. One of his strengths is he has an innate ability to grasp the underlying alchemy or chemistry of baking. This has translated into an ability to make sublime baked goods using alternative, organic and healthy ingredients, suitable for those with various food allergies. He has been baking wheat-free since 1995 and has created many recipes since 1989. Mark has a personal interest in recreating historic desserts, making ethnic desserts and walking the line between fine pastries and homemade desserts. In 1999 he became certified as an Herbalist. He has a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus in Human Ecology, Environmental Studies, Ecology, Biodiversity issues, Environmental Economic/Political issues, Multicultural Spirituality; Wholistic Healing Modalities; and Professional Massage Therapy. This varied knowledge base formed and informs Mark’s creativity and scientific understanding. Mark endeavors to keep abreast of the latest developments in the research of chocolate history and is actively searching for more historic chocolate recipes that he can recreate.
Please do not hesitate to contact Mark for further information and details.
I left the shop I created, Kakawa Chocolate House at the end of May, 2009 under extreme duress and am no longer the owner nor am I affiliated in any way with Kakawa. I have chosen to focus my attention on my passion, chocolate, and am moving forward with events, lectures and teaching. I will be creating a new website as soon as I find a space where I may make chocolate. Please contact me if you wish to do so! I look forward to this exploring this venue and meeting everyone. Thanks!