This weekend I went to the third annual Chocolate and Coffee Fest, and it made me realize a few things.
First, I had already gone to many of the stores represented prior to this weekend. Chocolate and coffee are two of my favorite things. Add wine to that, and I'm in heaven (actually, there was a wine seller there, but the line was too long). I've long had this dream of what I'd do if I ever opened my own restaurant. The three main items I'd sell? Chocolate, coffee, and wine. There would be some small tables and chairs, but a lot of it would consist of plush armchairs, walls covered with shelves of books, and a wall separating sections where a huge fireplace would run in the winter. Part of it would be an actual bar, and part of it would be like a living room/library. I'd never want to leave.
Back to the coffee. My parents were coffee drinkers. I bugged my mom endlessly to drink some of hers when I was a kid. Sometimes she'd give in, putting lots of milk and sugar in a small amount of coffee and let me have at it. Then I turned from coffee, preferring sugary sodas during my adolescence and early twenties.
And then grad school happened.
I started getting a small cup of coffee in the mornings. Then the medium. Then the large. This coincided with the ever-shrinking amount of time I spent sleeping at night. I got my coffee at the campus cafe. Then I tried a cappuccino. Not bad. I branched out to local coffee houses and tried their brew. I found it unbelievably strong and reverted to my childhood by adding tons of milk and sugar. Some wacky Seattle-based coffee chain came along and I started drinking their flavored mochas. By then, clearly, the addiction had dug its claw deep into my flesh. A few years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Seattle. I planned part of our itinerary around the local coffee shops (and no, I never once went to the international chain that started there). At this point, I brew my own in the mornings and add a packet of Splenda and a dash of milk.
Then there's chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate, but really, any kind will do. I love it all. But I didn't know how much it was possible to love chocolate until I learned about pairing it with port wine. If you've never tried it, you must. The next time you go out to eat at a nice restaurant, save room for dessert. Order a chocolate ganache, or something decadently chocolate, and a glass of port. By itself, port is just a super sweet wine. But! Take a bite of chocolate. Then sip the port. The wine will make the chocolate even more chocolatey. You will hear angels singing. You will want to run around giving everybody a hug (don't). You will want to name your firstborn after me (go ahead). It's that good.
And now, if you'll pardon me, there's a cup of coffee calling my name.