Hello! My name is Dominique Benedict and I own Breakfast At Dominique's, the boutique coffee company creating the Official Ava Gardner Signature Coffee Blend fondly titled "The Goddess Blend."

My mission for today is to share all about our motivations behind and desires for the coffee blend in honor of Ava Gardner that we worked so tirelessly to bring to you and the world. Plus, a little about the absolute pleasure of attending the 2023 Ava Gardner Festival hosted by the Museum.

Before jumping into the specifics of our "Goddess Blend," let's first talk about Breakfast At Dominique's.

This company, I truly believe, is a light built out of darkness. During the height of the pandemic, I spent the entirety of my time at home perfecting a vision I had for a company that prioritized quality and education over the "fast fashion" style of products. Our mission is to bring the stories of our past back into homes through high-quality coffee. We aim to be a positive asset in legacy preservation efforts to teach the current and upcoming generations with the ultimate goal of inspiring them to accomplish incredible feats themselves. I am personally inspired by people, like Ava Gardner, who come from small towns and accomplish every dream you could ever have. Those stories keep me driven, and one can only hope they do the same for you and others out there too.

Graphic Ava Gardner Signature Coffee Header

The discussion of an Ava Gardner coffee began shortly after our launch in January of 2022. An incredible consultant of the Ava Gardner Museum, Lora Stocker, discovered our social media in the early days and shared our profiles with The Ava Gardner Trust, whom I have the utmost respect for. It’s quite rare for anyone to gamble on working with a start-up. Those, like The Ava Gardner Trust, who so willingly spoke with me about my vision and tasted the coffee our incredible roaster has dedicated her life to sourcing and roasting to absolute perfection truly put their faith into what we are building brick-by-brick. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Our ideas paralleled one another. Authenticity was the Trust’s main focus while ours was digging into who Ava Gardner really was in her lifetime.

The process of creation began with a discussion.
What key-words tell the story of Ava Gardner? Independent… Bold… Strong…
What would we even name the coffee blend? A thread of emails bouncing name ideas back-and-forth ensued. Lora Stocker, who I mentioned a bit ago, and Ava Silver, co-trustee of The Ava Gardner Trust and relative of Ava Gardner, both simultaneously suggested we use the word “Goddess.” The pair deserve full credit for the appropriately glamorous name. So fittingly, when you Google the definition of the word, you’ll see “a female deity” - deity meaning divine in status, quality, or nature - and “a woman who is adored.”

Bag of Ava Gardner Signature Coffee

The coffee we have created is a blend of Sumatra and Colombian coffees dark roasted to perfection bringing out a kiss of smokiness, which plays its own role in representing the authentic Ava Gardner. Ava Thompson, co-trustee of The Ava Gardner Trust and Great-Niece of Ava Gardner, has confirmed that our creation matches her memories of what Ava would have truly enjoyed, which is a compliment to the highest degree.

Everyone involved in this project is immensely proud and so eager for you to try the coffee for yourself. Bags are available at the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC, both in person and online.

In celebration of Ava, I, along with 100lbs of “The Goddess Blend,” traveled to Smithfield for the annual Ava Gardner Festival and met so many incredible fans and loved ones of the screen legend along the way! Deeper than a gathering, the atmosphere closer aligned with that of a family reunion, filled with folks hugging and sharing recollections of what the past year has consisted of. Everyone was so welcoming and the festivities were so much fun!

The museum has a personal dress of Ava’s from the ‘60s which was my absolute favorite. Lora so kindly captured Ava Thompson and myself together in front of it. It will be treasured forever!

Ava Thompson and Dominique Benedict pose in front of a 1960s era dress of Ava Gardner's with a psychdelic pattern. Dominique holds a bag of the Ava Gardner coffee.

Day one of the Festival consisted of a Friday night reception fueled by “The Goddess Blend” and Seven Jars’ Ava Gardner Celebration Brut Sparkling Wine along with a highlight of hearing James Kelly speak about his immaculate recreations of the Show Boat costumes adored by many, and a screening of Show Boat, where the town and attendees gathered to admire Ava on film.

Dominique Benedict holding a bag of the Ava Gardner Goddess Blend Coffee

My second day in Smithfield, Saturday, was filled to the brim with a morning coffee sampling event hosted by yours truly, a heritage tour where the Museum team joined me and another special guest, Annette Bochenek, lunch with “the three Ava’s” and wonderful friends of the family, a talk hosted by Victoria Price followed by a book signing, an excursion with Lora Stocker, James Kelly, Annette, and myself, and, finally, a screening of The Bribe, which was introduced by Victoria Price and was actually a first-viewing for me! Being there just felt right!
Unfortunately, I had to begin my drive back home on Sunday morning and missed the last day of festivities, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was an amazing time.

The legacy of Ava Gardner is still present in so many lives. Here’s to eternal growth, and the hope that even more people will continue to learn about Ava as time moves forward.

You can hear more from Dominique about her company, Breakfast at Dominique's, and about the Ava Gardner Goddess Blend in our episode of Ava Chats featuring Dominique. It is available on our YouTube Channel here