Curating an experience: Fest is helping participants enjoy socially distanced chocolate, coffee - Albuquerque Journal

Curating an experience: Fest is helping participants enjoy socially distanced chocolate, coffee

The Acre restaurant is offering a five-course chocolate vegetarian brunch featuring Guittard chocolate and coffee from local roasters.

The highly anticipated Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest draws about 20,000 people each year. Organizers have taken a new approach to the beloved festival and created an online market where past eventgoers can find their favorite products.

The new website supports festival vendors through curated product collections as well as small group events including a five-course vegetarian chocolate brunch featuring Guittard Chocolate in each dish and your choice of coffee from local roasters. Attendees can take home a commemorative coffee mug.

The menu consists of a chocolate and fresh fruit parfait, a classic chocolate dipped scone, bread pudding with mocha caramel drizzle, a breakfast burrito with mole sauce and a chocolate pot de creme. The meal is $70 for two people and is available for dine-in as well as curbside pickup. Brunch seatings are 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. every Saturday.

“It’s going well so far, so the plan is to run it every Saturday,” said Dean Strober, owner of Blue River Productions, that puts on the Chocolate & Coffee Fest. “It’s so delicious. It will continue every Saturday as long as there’s interest. As long as it can be done safely we’ll do it… We’re trying to remain very sensitive to everybody’s individual levels of caution and provide as many opportunities to support as many local businesses as possible by eating chocolate and drinking coffee.”

Chocolate lovers can learn more about how the confection is made during a tour and tasting at Eldora Craft Chocolate. Chocolate maker and master chocolatier Steve Prickett and his staff will guide guests through the history of chocolate, as well as the bean to bar process. The events on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Thursday, Nov. 5, are limited to groups of five people and tours last about an hour. The tour and tasting is $16 per person.

Sheehan Winery will offer an intimate tasting of its wines accompanied by chocolates from The Chocolate Cartel at a number of different times on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 for very small groups. The tasting and pairing is $5 per person.

The holidays are around the corner and the Chocolate & Coffee Market can help with your gift list or for gifting yourself special treats.

“We have collections that are for chocolate lovers, some for coffee lovers, some that are chocolate and coffee,” Strober said. “We will have green chile spicy bundles as well as a lavender lover bundle. We have two bundles that consist of numerous products featuring green chile, including green chile chocolate bars, red and green chile chocolates. Everything is delicious.”

Eldora Craft Chocolate is holding a tour and tasting on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5.

There will be 12 different collections consisting of over 82 delicious products from over 60 small businesses with most located here in Albuquerque, according to Strober. All the collections are priced at $45, with limited quantities available.

Collections can be picked up from Nov. 21 through Dec. 20 at Spur Line Supply Co., 800 20th NW. Heritage Hotels & Resorts, which owns Spur Line Supply Co., partnered with the Chocolate & Coffee Market. The New Mexico hotel chain is offering up to 30% off a stay at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town and up to 30% off a stay at Hotel Chaco to Chocolate & Coffee Market purchasers and visitors.

Strober is working on collections of wine and chocolate, as well as beer and chocolate. He is in talks with Tractor Brewing Co. as well as D.H. Lescombes Winery. The wine bundle will feature two bottles of wine and eight chocolate truffles from the Art of Chocolate in Santa Fe.

“The goal is to make this affordable, as affordable as possible for as many people as possible to support as many businesses as possible,” Strober said.

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