Another weekend, another trip to Des Moines for a mid-winter event. My husband is starting to get bored with these things, but the event last night, dubbed “Indulge: A Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Affair,” definitely hit the spot with me.
Held in the wondrous West End Architectural Salvage building at the corner of 9th and Cherry downtown, Indulge was more than a wine-and-cheese tasting party, although it was certainly that. Event-goers were offered limitless samples of wine (both local and international), local cheeses, chocolates, bread, granola, and other goodies. But, to me, it was the environment that made this party special.
I’ve been to the West End shop many times, and I love prowling the floors and floors and floors of stuff – they have everything from vintage light fixtures (gazillions of them, none of which I can afford), doors, tin ceilings, tables, mirrors, doorknobs, all sorts of fixtures, wine racks, and an assortment of other architectural bits and vintage finds. Each time I’ve gone there, I’ve taken note that they have event space (mostly on the first two floors), and it’s occurred to me that I should try to get myself invited to one of these events someday.
This Indulge party wasn’t by invitation – the second-annual event was advertised in the paper and on various Des Moines websites. The cost was $20 per person, including a cute wine glass, and the cost didn’t seem high at all to me, especially considering how many tiny glasses of wine a person can potentially consume in four hours.
I didn’t stay that long, but long enough to thoroughly get my fill of Maytag blue cheese on crackers (why does Maytag blue cheese always taste better when it’s scraped off the giant wheel than it does from the little foil-covered triangle in my refrigerator?), blue cheese drizzled with honey (a new taste sensation), and Maytag’s other cheeses (cheddar, aged white cheddar, and baby swiss). I started worrying that the Maytag ladies would recognize me, I went back so many times.
Other favorite treats were chocolates from Chocolaterie Stam and Bochner Chocolates (everything I tried was melt-in-your-mouth delicious), more cheeses from Frisian Farms (a superb Iowa cheesemaker), hummus and olive tapenade spread on crackers from Sbrocco, bread and granola from Big Sky Bread Co., and, of course, wine, wine, wine. I drank many glasses of an excellent cab blend from Madison County Winery, plus Italian reds from Sbrocco and The Grapevine…all the while coveting the tin ceiling panels and funky furniture and listening to live music by Brian Congdon. Not a bad way to spend a frigid Saturday night.