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Day 40: Pure indulgence.

40 cups. 40 cafes. 40 days.  i’ve done it. and what i can say except… it has been a completely, utterly amazing experience.

but, i’ll have another post in a few days about what i’ve learned and experienced. a kind of debriefing and list-making. perhaps in “top ten” form. for now, i’d like to share with you my last fika for this project. and what a celebration it was! i decided to end my 40 days of fika in downtown asheville, at a place that i have reserved until the end… a place that’s different. a place i’ve always wanted to visit, but never did. a place that is filled with chocolate and decadence.

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now, i like chocolate. i like it a lot. but, i’m no chocoholic. however, i do appreciate fine chocolate like one appreciates fine wine or a beautiful sunset or an early morning walk on the beach. so, i thought that i’d slow down, really slow down, for this last fika and savor every little drop of every little moment.

i thought about having fika with someone, but i decided that being alone was exactly what i needed to close out and enjoy the ending of a wonderful, life-changing project.

so, i drove downtown, found a parking spot, and walked a bit to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. it was a gorgeous and very warm autumn day. once again, i found myself in awe at the beauty that surrounded me. even in the middle of the city nature glowed and gave off vibrant hues of yellow, red, and orange. people were everywhere, tourists visiting for leaf season. business people in a hurry to get to wherever they were going. and others, just exploring and doing their thing.

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i arrived at the door of the lounge and felt excited about going in. i can’t believe i’d never been here before, and i just knew i was going to love it.

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and i did. from the windows, to the brick walls, to the blues and reds, to the unbelievable smell of thick, rich chocolate, this place captured my heart. and i knew that i’d waited for a reason.

i took a few photos, as usual, when i entered. then, i noticed a stairwell calling my name. i climbed the stairs to find a second level seating area. very cozy. very private, and yet open. a great place to sit for a long while. undisturbed. i made a mental note: return here to write and work. but, i decided that it was too secluded and cozy for my purposes on this day. on this day, i wanted to soak in people. i wanted to be in the middle of everything.

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i headed back downstairs and grabbed a menu, overwhelmed by the sheer number of chocolate choices that were before my eyes. chocolate drinks, warm or cold. chocolate desserts of all kinds. wine. beer. and some food. well, of course, i was having chocolate. and i was gonna go wild and try something completely off the hook crazy amazing. or at least i hoped so.

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i stepped up to the chocolate barista and told her that this was my first visit here, so i had no idea what i wanted. well, i knew i wanted dark chocolate. i love the tiny bit of bitterness. i was stuck between deciding on something with a little mexican flair or something a little more inspirational. i finally decided on this:

the buddha –  a liquid truffle (yes, i did say liquid truffle) made with dark chocolate and coconut milk. i paid and got my little number thingy to put on my table, walked over to a table and waited for the deliciousness to arrive. in the meantime, i looked around and noticed tons of interesting things about the place. for one, there was an envelope on the table asking for donations for the haywood street congregation’s welcome table… a place for homeless to receive meals. i also noticed a manifesto on the wall, proclaiming the cafe’s belief in being an earth-friendly, community-driven, high standard place of excellence. i was impressed.

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and then, it arrived. my buddha.

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i confess that i had an extended photo session with my little espresso-sized cup of chocolate love. but, soon, i was over that and ready to taste it. i swirled my spoon in it for a while, feeling the creamy dreaminess of it. when i lifted my spoon and touched my lips, i think i closed my eyes, sighed a deep breath, and then experienced a little taste of heaven. seriously folks. it was warm and yummy goodness on its way to my belly. i loved it. so much.

i pulled out my journal and begin writing, reflecting on this journey of mine, and i realized something…. the reason that this was the perfect place to end my 40 days of fika was because it made me slow down. it was literally not possible to drink the chocolate quickly. no, it required, deliberate, intentional attention. it forced me to slow down, to savor it. and in doing that, i was able to savor all the memories and thoughts i was having about my 40 days of fika. i was, in fact, able to connect with myself and experience that spirituality in a cup that i have talked about.

it was perfect. every little thing about this moment.

and then, when my little cup was empty,  i knew that i had celebrated. it was a quiet celebration. but, it was exactly the best way to experience the last fika of this project. now, it was time to move on.

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thank you so much for reading and following along! it has been an honor and a joy to share these places with you.

namaste. /liz

10 S. Lexington Avenue . Asheville, NC . www.frenchbroadchocolates.com

remember, i will be writing more on the blog here. i have at least two more follow-up posts about the 40 days of fika: one top ten list of the things i have done, and another post with a playlist i have created of great tunes to listen to while sipping coffee. i will also begin some other series as well. so, check back and stay in touch. more importantly, don’t forget to fika! contact me at justbelovealllivelife at gmail dot com, if you are in the asheville area and would like to fika together some time. i’d love to!

About Liz McGuire

Liz is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer in Asheville, NC. She is a returning expat, re-adjusting to American life after living in Sweden for the past three years. On any given day you can find her planning her next adventure with her wife, blogging away on her blog (www.belovelive.com) about daily life and social issues, and discovering little hidden gems and secret places in the city. She faithfully totes her camera and her coffee mug everywhere she goes. And she’s always up for a conversation about spirituality, politics, or other taboo topics. You can find her on the web at www.belovelive.com.

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