FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, ALBUQUERQUE, NM, January 25, 2016-Visitors from around the country will indulge in their favorite guilty pleasures on Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., when the popular Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest returns to the Manual Lujan Building at Expo New Mexico. With over 120 delicious vendors and 17,000 attendees this home-grown festival, has developed into the largest consumer chocolate and coffee festival in the nation.

The SW Chocolate & Coffee Fest has already sold out all of its vendor spaces, resulting in the return of fan favorites and opportunities to try new options, like the Round Lake, NY-based Death Wish Coffee, the most highly caffeinated coffee in the world. Visitors to the event will meet vendors who come from all over the U.S., from Seattle to NY.

This year's event will feature the Villa Myriam Music Lounge, showcasing popular local bands, while at the Kitchen Stage attendees will enjoy culinary demos from the acclaimed Santa Fe Culinary Academy and master chocolate historian Mark Sciscenti, in addition to coffee roasting seminars from master roaster David Certain of Villa Myriam Specialty Coffee. Attendees won't want to miss the ever-popular chocolate-eating contests and live cow-milking demonstrations, presented by the Southwest Dairy Farmers.

Some of the new additions for 2016 include the Mazda Coffee Lounge, offering Mazda owners free coffee while all attendees can win prizes, taking fun photos and playing great games. Just outside the festival doors, the NM Kids' Zone provides free bouncers and face painting and, new for 2016, free Easter Egg Hunts for kids ages 10 and under. With over 7000 toy-filled eggs being hidden over the weekend, this promises to be a family highlight of the event. Don't forget your basket!
The Guittard Chocolate baking competitions held on Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. offer coveted cash prizes for the best chocolate dessert. Entry into the all-ages, all-levels, competition is $25 and includes tickets to the event and a special commemorative coffee mug. Winners each day will take home the top prize of $200, with a second place prize of $100. A special award of $50 will go to the top-rated baker under the age of 18. So start working on those recipes!

Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest tickets include the exhibition, entertainment, demonstrations and free door prize entries at just $10 for adults, $2 for children ages 4 - 12, and free for children 3 and under. Parking at Expo New Mexico is $5 per car. Handicap and bicycle parking are free of charge.

Purchase tickets online at A free commemorative coffee mug will be provided to the first 2000 full-price adult tickets sold online, with mugs distributed at the festival entrance.

The Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Festival is presented by Blue River Productions. Sponsors include Mazda, Guittard Chocolate, Villa Myriam Coffee and On Cue Stage-Event Services. For more information and to sign up for competitions, please visit