Tag Archives: Aarti Khosla

The Oscars: The Sequel

“La La Land” won the Academy Award for Best Picture last night — until it didn’t.

But the old-fashioned, new-fangled musical about hopes and dreams still picked up an admirable 6 Oscars.

And — in addition to Staples High School graduate Justin Paul — there in Los Angeles to share in the glory was Westporter Joelle Berger. Her son Fred was a “La La Land” producer.

When she flew to California for the 89th annual ceremony, she did not go empty-handed.

Mom brought along a special treat: a chocolate creation of a scene from the movie, hand-crafted by Le Rouge owner Aarti Khosla.

Aarti Khosla's chocolate rendition of "La La Land."

Aarti Khosla’s chocolate rendition of “La La Land.”

Fred Berger had just finished his acceptance speech, when fellow producer Jordan Horowitz announced that, actually, “Moonlight” was the Oscar winner.

Publicly Fred, Justin and the rest of the cast were gracious winners/losers.

I have no idea what went on afterward, backstage. But hopefully they had a chance to drown their disappointment in chocolate.

Give A Little Le Rouge Love: The Sequel

On Sunday, “06880” gave a shout-out to Aarti Khosla. The owner of Le Rouge — the fantastic downtown artisan chocolate shop — is offering handmade hearts for just $5 each. She wants folks to give them to people who have made a difference in someone’s life. “Give a Little Love,” she calls her campaign.

Yesterday, there were lines out the door. Today, countless customers handed out untold numbers of chocolate hearts. What a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Aarti welcomes photos of the recipients. She’ll display them on a “Wall of Love” in her cafe.

You’ll want to see it. But here’s a sneak peek:

give-a-little-love-skye-trader-joes

That’s Doris Ghitelman, bestowing her random act of kindness on Shy, one of Trader Joe’s superb employees.

“She always greets me with a smile, and inspires me with her generous spirit and drive,” Doris says. “Today I let her know how much I appreciate her.”

Doris adds: “When she’s not working at Trader Joe’s, Shy is an immigration law student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.”

Aarti’s campaign runs all through February. So there’s plenty of time for all of us to join Doris and Shy, and “give a little love.”

Give A Little Le Rouge Love

Westport is a community with a heart. Many merchants go out of their way to help worthy causes, large and small.

Aarti Khosla takes that idea one step further.

Literally.

For years, the owner of Le Rouge — the fantastic downtown artisan chocolate shop — has  brought a little love into her devoted customers’ lives.

Now — in honor of Valentine’s Day — she’s launching a “Give a Little Love” campaign. The idea is for all of us to share love, during these trying times.

Stop in at her store (190 Main Street, just below the old Sally’s Place) any time, starting today. Pick up a hand-painted chocolate heart for $5 (a great price!). Her only request is that you share these hearts with unsuspecting folks in our community: a school custodian. Your favorite Trader Joe’s checkout clerk. The gas station guy who fills your tires and refuses money. A stranger at the Senior Center.

These are the hand-painted chocolates that Aarti hopes we'll pass along.

The hand-painted chocolate hearts that Aarti hopes we’ll pass along.

These random acts of kindness are “our way of showing we’re a loving community,” Aarti says.

She should know. As a 1st-generation immigrant, she understands firsthand the importance of feeling welcomed.

As a business owner, she considers giving back to the community a privilege.

And as a citizen, she recognizes the value our individual differences bring to our towns. After living around the world, this is her home.

Aarti Khosla, in her red-and-black-themed chocolate shop.

Aarti Khosla, in her red-and-black-themed chocolate shop.

Aarti hopes you’ll take a photo of the moment you “Give a Little Love.” Then email it to lerouge.aarti@gmail.com. She’ll mount those photos as a “Wall of Love” in her cafe, celebrating our broad and loving community.

“Too often, our differences appear insurmountable,” she explains.  “This year, these differences will become our strengths.”

Aarti has other heart-felt plans. She’ll give dozens of Le Rouge chocolate hearts to organizations in Westport, Weston, Norwalk, Bridgeport and surrounding communities. It’s one more way to show that “love matters.”

In the coming weeks, Aarti will open early on weekends. She invites anyone to come and actually make chocolate hearts with her, to give out.

Finally, Aarti will donate 10 percent from the sale of items in this “Give a Little Love” campaign to charity. She’ll honor a different organization each month. Aarti is in this for the long haul.

Which causes will benefit? Aarti wants you to choose. Just click “Comments” below to nominate your favorite. Or stop in to the store, and tell her personally.

February is the shortest month of the year. Thanks to Aarti Khosla, this year it will be the most loving too.

Another piece of Le Rouge love.

Another piece of Le Rouge love.

Chocolates And Community

When Aarti Khosla opened Le Rouge a little over a year ago, she followed her dream.

She wanted to turn her new spot under the old Sally’s Place into a fantastic chocolate shop. And she did.

Aarti Khosla, in her red-and-black-themed chocolate shop.

Aarti Khosla, in her red-and-black-themed chocolate shop.

But the creative Westonite wanted to do more. Driven by a strong belief that women need a place to regain the confidence they lose when they give up rewarding careers to raise a family and support a spouse climbing the corporate ladder, she is offering her space to “all the supermoms in our community who also happen to be entrepreneurs. Or plan to be one soon.”

Now, Le Rouge is more than a spot to enjoy artisanal chocolate. It’s also a meeting place to share ideas.

Once a week, women entrepreneurs are invited to pitch their plans, products or services to prospective clients. Aarti calls it “your own open house. Invite your own audience.” There is no cost.

Aarti has already been contacted by a woman selling jewelry for a trunk show, a travel agent and a therapist. Word is spreading quickly.

Le Rouge is a tiny space — seating only a dozen or so people. But it has a very big heart.

(To reserve space, email lerouge.aarti@gmail.com. For a calendar of weekly events, click here.)

Vive Le Rouge!

Once you’ve earned post-grad degrees in economics and finance, started a company representing international buyers, raised 2 children, and lived around the world — from India and Hong Kong to Minnesota and Weston — what do you do next?

If you’re Aarti Khosla, you open a fantastic chocolate shop in Westport.

Aarti Khosla, in her red-and-black-themed chocolate shop.

Aarti Khosla, in her red-and-black-themed chocolate shop.

Le Rouge celebrates its grand opening this Friday (November 28, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.). Tucked away in a former optical shop below the old Sally’s Place (190 Main Street), it’s an intriguing — and different — addition to Westport’s retail scene.

As is obvious from her bio, Aarti is a high achiever. She is detail-oriented. Her store is beautifully decorated, in red (her favorite color) and black (duh).

She designed everything — from the decor to the gift boxes — herself. She makes, then brushes each creation by hand.

She has spent the last 2 years learning everything there is to know about chocolate. She took online courses, and traveled to Vancouver to learn about coloring.

A close-up of some of Aarti's creations.

A close-up of some of Aarti’s creations.

Aarti drew on her international background — and love of cooking — to create delicate flavors. Her chocolates incorporate Szechuan pepper, wasabi ginger and apple pie truffle. (My favorite is saffron and pistachio in a white chocolate ganache.) She uses no preservatives or additives, and minimal glucose.

Le Rouge’s market is world travelers, who appreciate artisanal flavors beyond Westport.

Though most chocolates are taken home or shipped, Le Rouge is also a cafe. Aarti sells cappuccino, espresso (plus of course hot chocolate), and plated desserts.

And — in a nod to 21st-century sensibilities that even the most traditional chocolate-lover could appreciate — there’s free Wi-Fi.