The 9th annual Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest swept through Albuquerque March 16 and 17 delivering an array of flavorful coffees, fruity wines, and delectable desserts to the Duke City.  

By Nichole Harwood

With doors opening at 10 a.m. an eager crowd of chocolate and coffee enthusiasts flooded Expo New Mexico Saturday and Sunday.

With over 120 vendors vying for the attention of event participants, there were plenty of treats to go around in the form of tasty samples and fun activities.

One such vendor, Teri’s Sweet Garden, handed out samples of specially made candy to patient attendees.

Owner of the small business, Teri Leahigh said her candy shop has participated in the event for seven years and she noticed a large increase in foot traffic this year as compared to previous ones.

“We love it,” she said. “It keeps getting bigger and better and just more fun.”

Aside from delicious samples, the crowd was treated with live music from bands such as Alpha Blue and Dos Gatos. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to watch demonstrations in chocolate and coffee making as well as watch an exciting chocolate baking challenge. Lastly, a Cow Milking Demonstration was available courtsey of the Southwest Dairy Farmers throughout the event both days.

Many vendors took the extra step to ensure their business stood out not only providing samples of their products, but combining the treats with activities such as campfires set outside to roast marshmallows for smores or free neck rubs to enjoy aromatherapy products.

There was a feeling of joy and excitement in the air as families stood hopeful in long lines prepared to enjoy the newest pastry, coffee, beer, or wine available. Many vendors eager to give the patient crowd a taste of their products ventured out beyond their booths with trays of chocolate and other delicious samples.

A first time attendant of the festival and a new resident of Albuquerque Dani White said she was pleased with the knowledgeable vendors and their staff at the event.

“This is new for me and I’m having a great time,” White said with a smile.