Tag Archives: Aarti Khosla

A New Look For Chocolates By Aarti

Over the past 5 years, Aarti Khosla has built up a wonderful, popular business.

But the name — Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti — was a mouthful.

So the new year — and new decades — brings a new look.

The new name could not be more delicious: Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates.

Get it?!

Aarti began using chocolate to showcase the rich diversity of Indian desserts. She worked in a rented commercial kitchen, and sold through farmer’s markets, chocolate shows and holiday boutiques.

Aarti Khosla, with her creations.

After introducing European ganache cakes, she opened the small shop at 190 Main Street — a few steps from Joe’s Pizza, and underneath Ron Provenzano’s barber shop.

“I feel humbled and very fortunate to be accepted, appreciated and embraced by the community,” Aarti says.

“It has been a blessing to meet so many people from all walks of life, and make innumerable friends along the way.”

Her bold black and white polka dot brand is well known. But, she says, it does not fully communicate the building blocks behind Le Rouge Chocolates: her Indian heritage, passion for world travel, and love of French food artistry.

Randy Herbertson of the Church Lane design firm TVB helped her capture the essence of her inspirations.

The new logo’s lotus flower and dome are nods to India. The elaborate scrollwork is inspired by Paris’ iron balconies.

The skyline combines those of India and Paris. She came up with the tagline: “Paris to Punjab.”

Using royal blue with red “elevates the packaging to look royal — just like my hand-painted chocolate gems,” Aarti says.

Condensing “Chocolates by Aarti” to “Aartisan Chocolates” was the brainchild of her good friend Joelle Berger.

She also took the suggestion of photographer/marketing guru Dave Matlow to incorporate the word that represents her core business — “chocolate” — in the new logo and website.

The new website — http://www.lerougechocolates.com — will be ready soon. A launch party — also celebrating Valentine’s Day month — is set for Saturday, February 8 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

In the meantime, as Aarti transitions to Artisan Chocolates, she’s open for business.

Some things never change.

The new color scheme, and Aarti’s always-wonderful chocolates.

Unsung Heroes #126

The other day, the Women’s Business Development Council honored 11 Connecticut business people with “Women Rising” awards.

Two are from Westport.

Suzanne Vita Palazzo

Suzanne Vita Palazzo — founder and owner of Upper Deck Fitness, in National Hall — has been here for a couple of years. This is her 2nd location (the first is in Stamford).

But she’s quickly become part of the community. Upper Deck has opened its doors for a variety of Post Road West community events, including a Women’s Wellness Day for cancer survivors.

Aarti Khosla has been serving Westport in many ways too, since 2012.

With a background in economics and international marketing, she worked for international corporations. Aarti opened her first company in her native India in 1991, then started a second business after coming to the US 3 years later.

Born with “foodie genes” and blessed with a mom who was an amazing cook, Aarti followed her passion to become an artisan chocolatier. Her initial inspiration came from a desire to use chocolate to showcase the rich diversity of Indian desserts, and “capture flavors from around the world, in the divine language of chocolate.”

She launched her business in 2012, selling through farmer’s markets, shows and holiday boutiques. In 2014 she opened Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti at 190 Main Street.

Each piece of chocolate is made with fresh, top quality ingredients, and meticulously hand painted.

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

She fills a great niche. She has been voted Best Chocolate Shop of Westport each year since, and Best of Gold Coast twice. She ships her creations all over the world.

But it’s in Westport that Aarti has really made her mark. She runs frequent promotions, earmarking a portion of sales to local and international causes — humanitarian, social justice and women’s issues, among them.

Westport is blessed with many female business owners. Today, “06880” follows the Women’s Business Development Council in hailing 2 special ones.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Give A Little Chocolate

Uh-oh.

It’s Valentine’s Day, and you forgot your chocolates.

You have 2 choices:

  1. Kiss your relationship goodbye.
  2. Head to Le Rouge by Aarti — and help not only yourself, but a good cause.

Since 2016 Aarti Khosla — the handmade chocolatier at 190 Main Street — has run a “Give a Little Love” campaign. She donates 10% of the proceeds from any heart-shaped creation to charity.

This year’s recipient is “She’s the First.” The organization — dear to Aarti’s, um, heart — empowers and helps educate young women who are the first in their family to go to college.

But Aarti is not stopping there. She just introduced a second campaign: “Give a Little Woof.”

Aarti designed a mini-heart box, with 3 hand-painted dark chocolate “bones.” A full 50% of sales goes to the Weston Dog Park. The initiative honors Brian Gordon, the town’s beloved 2nd selectman and 1987 Staples High School graduate, who died in November.

Give a Little Woof!

So what are you waiting for?

Well, actually, you’ve still got a couple of hours. Le Rouge opens at 11 a.m.

Chocolate Hearts Help Kids In Crisis

Amid the swirl of awful news about children in crisis around the world, many Westporters wonder how they can help.

Aarti Khosla — owner of Le Rouge, the artisan chocolate shop on Main Street just past Avery Place — has one idea. She writes:

With the continued moral decay surrounding us, I am upping the effort to raise money for children in crisis. I’m giving 100% of the proceeds from chocolate hearts sold this week.

To keep my sanity during the challenging moral decay surrounding me, I have been busy making “Give a Little Love” chocolate hearts since February of 2017. So far we have sold close to 800 hearts. They’ve been shared in random acts of kindness in and around our community. 10% of the proceeds have been given to charity.

“Give a Little Love” with these chocolates.

Please help me reach my goal of 1,000 hearts this week. 100% of  sales of these hearts will go to help children in crisis.

These chocolate hearts are a great way to say thank you to teachers, school staff, bus drivers and others in our community. Please join me in spreading more love!

The hard-working Aarti had already planned to close for her annual vacation next week. So head down to 190 Main Street today or tomorrow, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Unsung Hero #35

Happy Valentine’s Day!

There’s a lot to love in Westport. At the top of anyone’s list should be Le Rouge by Aarti.

Aarti Khosla — owner of the luscious handmade chocolate shop on Main Street — is always looking for ways to give back to the community. Last year she raised nearly $10,000 for hurricane relief, children’s cancer research and various charities.

This year, she’s reprising her “Give a Little Love” chocolate heart campaign.

The idea is simple: Buy a selected item, and 10% of the proceeds go to a different charity — every month throughout the year.

“Give a Little Love” with these chocolates.

Included are one-of-a-kind hand-painted chocolate portraits, champagne truffles (for her), bourbon and ale truffles (for him), hand-painted heart puzzles, moulded chocolate purses and cars, open truffle flowers, preserved rose truffles and ganache cake — and anything for sale in Le Rouge’s red heart box.

There’s a lot to love about Aarti.

On Valentine’s Day, and every other one.

(Le Rouge by Aarti is at 190 Main Street, beneath the former Sally’s Place.)

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

Aarti Is All In For The Cure

Aarti Khosla is one of my — and Westport’s — favorite people.

The owner of Le Rouge — the fantastic handmade chocolate shop on Main Street, just past Avery Place — is always the first to donate funds (or treats) for any good cause.

Today she went one step further.

As part of her mission to help the St. Baldrick Foundation raise money for childhood cancer research, she set a personal goal of $5,500.

Friends, family and customers pledged $6,783.

So today, Aarti sat down to fulfill her side of the deal.

Aarti Khosla before …

… during …

… and after the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, at the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

She’s proud to do her part to help kids who are battling severe illnesses.

Now it’s your turn.

You can still donate to Aarti’s page. Just click here.

Then have some of her chocolates. They — and the knowledge of doing good — will make you feel great!

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.)