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We can’t think of anything better than an enormous celebration of all things chocolate, filling vast spaces from wall to wall with some of the best confectionary delights and cocoa creations. Although it may sound like an impossibly magical Willy Wonka-inspired adventure, you can experience all this plus more at the upcoming Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Festival. From fabulous chocolate and coffee to gourmet foods, extraordinary baked goods, lovely libations, and live entertainment, it’s all under one roof at the Manuel Lujan Jr. Complex at EXPO New Mexico, with this year’s fest taking place on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7.

If ultimate chocolate decadence isn’t enough to inspire you to check it out, maybe these interesting tidbits will help.

1. It’s the largest chocolate, coffee and gourmet foods festival in the world!

We gave this one away in the title, but the significance of the fact that Albuquerque is home to the largest festival of its kind in the world cannot be overstated! With approximately 20,000 attendees each year, the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest is officially recognized as the world’s largest coffee, chocolate and gourmet foods festival by the World Record Academy.

2. More chocolate, gourmet food, beverages and specialty product vendors under one roof than you will find anywhere in New Mexico.

We can’t begin to list all the unique, delicious, sweet, savory and delectable treats available for purchase at the chocolate and coffee festival. But oh heck, let’s give it a try!
    • Chocolate & coffee (because, of course)
    • Baked goods
    • Honey
    • Tea
    • Candy
    • Gluten-free treats
    • Vegan delights
    • Custard
    • Ice cream
    • Craft beer
    • Cheese curds
    • Decadent desserts
    • Fruits
    • Beauty and health products
    • Wine
    • Gourmet foods
    • Culinary spices and oils
    • Sauces and herbs
    • Beef jerky

And so much more!

Great local New Mexico vendors as well as businesses representing the industry from all around the country will sell their food, drinks and specialty items during the big weekend event.

3. Chocolate challenges!

The Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest isn’t just about the shopping experience. Folks of all ages and skill levels can enter to win prize money and be crowned the chocolate champion as part of the “Guittard Chocolate Challenge.” Entries can include any kind of chocolate dessert from cakes, to pies to cookies and beyond. In addition to the $250 prize money for the best creation in the general category, the “best young baker” will be named and awarded $50. The youth event is open to anyone under the age of 18.

For both competitions, bakers must include Guittard chocolate as one ingredient in their recipe. If you’re interested in competing, make sure to add your name to the list ASAP by registering online, as there are a maximum of 15 participants accepted.

4. There are samples

We hear tell that past events have included vendor samples of some of the most delicious chocolates and sweets. We can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend than perusing the rows of goodies and scoring an occasional sweet morsel or mini cup ‘o joe.

5. Classes, tastings & demos

Our friends at the Chocolate and Coffee Fest have created a truly engaging experience. In addition to shopping some of the tastiest treats and goods that you can find, they’re also offering engaging and hands-on opportunities for folks who want to learn more about what goes into a great cup of coffee or how to break down the components of a fine chocolate bar.

Don’t miss this opportunity to brag to all your friends that you’re a certified marshmallow master and an expert espresso extractionist. To see the full list of presentations, check out the C & C website. You can also purchase add on experiences such as wine/dessert pairings, caffeine-fueled yoga sessions, paintings classes, and grand tastings, which are also listed on the website.

6. Live music on two stages

As we said, this festival offers next level entertainment, and that includes some great live music on two stages throughout the weekend. The lineup features an impressive list of popular local talent as well as singers and musicians who have a national fan base.

Artists you can expect to perform include Chris Dracup & Funk of the West, Oscar Butler, Felix y Los Gatos, Tylor Brandon, Rudy Boy Experiment and Benny Bassett, among others. Check out the full list of performers to make sure you don’t miss your favorites.

7. You could win free tickets!

If you’re a follower of our EXPO New Mexico social media pages, you already know we like to post fun giveaways. If you’re not, what are you waiting for? Thanks to our friends at Chocolate and Coffee, we’re giving away four pairs of admission tickets to the Fest over the next week or so leading up to the event. Check your social settings now to make sure you’re a follower of our EXPO New Mexico Facebook and NM State Fair Instagram pages so you don’t miss any of the fun.

In addition to the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest, there are lots of exciting, fun and entertaining events happening at EXPO New Mexico this Spring. You can find the complete list on our website.

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