Chocolate Hazelnut Grape
A couple years back, local Spokane tattoo artist Caleb Frey supplied us with the portrait of our tired but trustworthy Working Elf. Everybody knows someone who works tirelessly year-round, or even turns it on, hours on end, for the holidays. We thought you might want to know a little more about the elf himself.
Full Name: Sven Henrik Johansen
Birthplace: Tromsø, Norway
Astrological Sign: Taurus
Favorite Song: Working Man’s Blues by Merle Haggard
Sven is the third generation of Johansens to work at the North Pole. He's been assisting Santa for the past 42 years— primarily with woodworking, but he’s been known to “flex” as needed into duties elsewhere in the workshop, and even drove the sleigh one year when Santa had an excruciating migraine. An expert joiner, Sven takes pride in the smallest details of his work. If you see an especially well-crafted piece of wood work with perfectly matched angles and smooth edges, it likely came from his hands. The finest wooden train sets are the work of Sven — look for the “SHJ” emboss.
For the past 20 years, Sven’s son, Gunnar, has worked alongside him. He spent 10 years in a long and grueling apprenticeship, learning his father’s craft. With the advent of new materials and digital equipment, Gunnar shifted his focus to plastics. Despite Sven’s resistance, Gunnar intends to bring the family into the modern era of toy production, and has purchased a cutting edge 3-D printer to realized his dreams.
After working 365 days a year for over four decades, Sven, at the urging of Gunnar, finally opted, a couple years back, to take an annual vacation between Christmas and New Year’s. That week, and that week alone, you’ll find him on the sunny beaches of Sayulita, Mexico. He’s the guy with the rocks margarita and the stocking hat.
Lots of chocolate and nuts can be found in the aroma - a warm welcome from a trustworthy friend. That first sip reminds us of the harmonious balance of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - dense and rich, yet fruity, comforting, and even refreshing. Hazelnut and wine leads into red apple and grape, settling into a smoky chocolate finish. This is a cup to savor, to ponder, to top off and refill. You're worth it.