Tag Archives: Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates

Roundup: Eclipse, Chocolates, Groceries …

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Did you miss this morning’s partial eclipse of the sun?

Franco Fellah didn’t. Here’s what the amateur astronomer saw:

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

A wider view, courtesy of Jay Walshon:

(Photo/Jay Walshon)

Meanwhile, WCBS-TV’s lead weather anchor — and Westporter — Lonnie Quinn set up for his remote shot at Compo Beach. He had a short commute to work today.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Last year — as students graduated, sad and largely uncelebrated during the pandemic — Aarti Khosla decided to help.

The owner of Le Rouge Handmade Chocolates decided to give a chocolate heart to every graduate in the Bridgeport school system.

Thanks to her customers, she did.

This year, graduations are a bit more normal. But — now a new “tradition” — the gifts continue.

There are 1,081 graduates in the Bridgeport district. So far, 275 have been “sponsored” by Le Rouge clients. Over 800 are still needed — by Tuesday.

It’s easy. For just $8 — “the cost of a coffee and croisssant,” Aarti says — anyone can sponsor a chocolate heart. Click here to help.

Speaking of $8 — last year, Aarti notes, “the smiles on graduates’ faces were priceless.”

“Give a Little Love” with chocolate hearts.

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Congratulations to Westport’s newest Emmy winner!

Michael Carey — part of NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football team — was part of the crew awarded the prestigious prize for “Outstanding Live Sports Series.”

Carey — a segment producer — is a 2001 Staples High School graduate. He captained the ’00 boys soccer team.

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Amazon may or may not be taking over the world.

But the shopping behemoth is taking over Avi Kaner’s parking spots.

Every morning at 8:30, the former Westport 2nd selectman/Board of Finance chair — and, more importantly for this story, an owner of the 16-store Morton Williams grocery store chain in New York — sees trucks part in front of 2 of his Upper East Side markets.

Workers appear. For the next 5 hours, Crains’ New York Business reports, they use hand trucks to deliver groceries to residents who ordered from Amazon online.

“They use it like a warehouse,” Kaner says. “The city is allowing these places to block our business.”

An Amazon spokeswoman described the scene as an “exchange point.”

Kaner notes that Morton Williams’ sales in residential areas are down only 5-15% from pre-COVID levels, but that stores in business districts are still doing just half of their previous numbers. (Click here for the full Crains’ story.)

Avi Kaner in a Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)

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Next up at the Remarkable Theater: “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The superhero film shows tomorrow (Friday, June 11, 8:30 p.m.; gates open for tailgating at 7:30). Click here for tickets and more information.

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The Westport PAL car show set for June 20 has been postponed to July 17. It’s still 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; still at the railroad station parking lot near Railroad Place and Franklin Street); it still features cool cars, food and raffle prizes.

Tickets are still $15 each. But kids — that is, anyone under 12 — are still free.

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Naturally, “Westport … Naturally” shows a deer or two, every once a while. This pair was too cool for school.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … today, people across the Northern Hemisphere can watch an annular (partial eclipse) of the sun. Because no one has recorded a song by that name, this will have to do.

Roundup: Staples Players, Mattress Recycling, Pet Photos …

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The Staples High School auditorium has been dark for 14 months.

But later this month, Staples Players will be back on stage.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday, May 8) for a unique show. “Words Words Words … And Music” is a feel-good, very funny journey through 5 short plays by award-winning (and witty) playwright David Ives, plus 2 mini-musicals and a smattering of songs and monologues.

The curtain goes up May 20 and 21 (7:30 p.m.), and 22 (2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.). Socially distant seating is available tomorrow (click here). NOTE: Cultural starvation and fewer seats may create a toilet paper-in-2020 situation.

A virtual livestream is set for June 6 (6 p.m.).

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Who wouldn’t like free compost?

Just bring a container (no larger than a kitchen trash can) to the mattress and box spring recycling event at Earthplace tomorrow (Saturday, May 8, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). Boy Scouts will fill it!

Sustainable Westport is thanking Westport for making the food scrap recycling program such a success. Started less than a year ago, residents now divert 10 tons of food scraps a month. (That’s in addition to me compost piles.)

That’s great. But the goal is to double participation in the Zero Food Waste Challenge in the next 6 months. For options, and guidance, click here. For more information on tomorrow’s event, email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org or call 203-293-6320.

Free compost at Earthplace!

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Speaking of Earthplace: This year, their annual fundraiser has been turned into a special “Cocktails & Clams To Go” have-your-own-picnic event.

100 boxes of Copps Island oysters or clams (your choice) are on sale (along with a shucking knife, cocktail sauce and mixer, Harbor Watch car magnet, and raffle entry.

Each basket purchased allows Harbor Watch to continue its fight against pollution in local waterways. Click here for more information, and to purchase your shellfish.

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Ever since she opened Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates, Aarti Khosla has helped people and organizations in need in Westport, Bridgeport and throughout Fairfield County.

Now she’s helping people in her native land.

As COVID causes havoc in India, Aarti is helping raise funds to mobilize oxygen concentrators and other equipment. “No amount is too small to make a difference,” Aarti says. She is working with Vibha, a non-profit whose tagline is “Save lives. Save India.” Click here for details, and to contribute.

She is also donating 20% of all sales from Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week to Vibha. So this is the perfect time for some fantastic chocolate — and to help an important cause.

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Tickets for individual Westport Country Playhouse virtual performances are now on sale.

This season’s online offerings include a comedy (“Tiny House,” June 29-July 18), a Script in Hand (“The Savannah Disputation,” June 14-20), a classic (“Man of La Mancha 2018,” August 23-September 5), and a gripping drama (“Doubt: A Parable,” November 2-21).

Virtual tickets start at just $20. Click here for more information, and to order. Questions? Call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

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Staples junior Katie Davitt has found a way to combine her passions for art and advocacy. She draws pet portraits for families — and donates 100% of the proceeds to causes she cares deeply about, like racial justice (Equal Justice Initiative), animal welfare (Connecticut Humane Society) and combating climate change (Environmental Defense Fund).

So far, she has raised and given away over $1,500.

Katie says, “the pandemic has given me an opportunity to look inward and realize what is truly important to me: family, friends, pursuing my passions. At the same time it’s opened my eyes to injustices in the world. I feel like I am doing my small part in making a difference.”

Katie is busy with schoolwork. But anyone interested in pet portraits this summer should send a photo of the pet, its name and your background color preference to kateedavitt@gmail.com. She charges $65 for a printed portrait in a 9”x11” black frame with a white matte, $45 for a digital file.

One of Katie Davitt’s pet photos.

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Westport Transit director Peter Gold writes:

“Ten days ago, I urged the community to ask the RTM to support public transit in Westport by restoring funds cut from the Westport Transit District’s budget for the Wheels2U Westport shuttles.

“The response was overwhelming. Over 100 letters were sent to the RTM from individuals and organizations in favor of restoring the funding. The RTM heard your voice, and voted 32-to-1 to restore the budget and keep Westport’s Wheels2U shuttle running and growing!

“Wheels2U Westport was launched in October 2020 to support Westport residents and businesses. It provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly way for Westport residents and reverse commuters to travel between the train stations and their homes, employers and downtown. Wheels2U is now an integral part of Westport.

“We cannot thank you enough! A diverse group of residents, commuters and key Westport organizations came together to share your stories, explain the shuttle’s benefits, and lend your voice to restoring the budget.

“There are exciting things planned for Wheels2U Westport in the next year. We look forward to keeping everyone up to date about our growth and new initiatives.”

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Westport’s wonderful spring continues. Judith Katz spotted these tulips on Myrtle Avenue, across from Sconset Square. Just a few of the many colorful flowers that make our town so beautiful.

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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And finally … in Vienna today in 1824, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was first performed. It’s considered the composer’s greatest work — and one of the finest musical achievements of all time. Groundbreaking in its use of voices, it is also one of the most performed symphonies in the world.

Of course, Beethoven never heard his masterpiece. When he began composing the 9th Symphony in 1822, he was already deaf.

Le Rouge Turns Blue

The name of the business is Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates.

It’s as clever — a play on owner Aarti Khosla’s name — as her creations are good.

Since opening in 2014 at 190 Main Street — just past Avery Place, underneath the old Sally’s Place — the store has satisfied Westporters’ sweet teeth with amazing flavors. Aarti has also been a great neighbor, helping countless charitable causes here and in Bridgeport.

Aarti Khosla

Her store and packaging are known for their distinctive black (for chocolate) and red (her favorite) colors.

So why has “Le Rouge” now turned to blue?

For a while, designer friends have told Aarti that her polka dot and red packaging — though bold and eye-catching — distracted customers from the beauty of her hand-painted chocolates.

She hired The Visual Brand — around the corner on Church Lane — for her brand redesign.

As she talked with them about her childhood — her parents are from Punjab; her father would bring back amazing chocolates from his travels to France — they came up with the line “Flavors from Paris to Punjab.” It’s incorporated into artwork depicting the skylines of both countries, and is the “crown jewel” of the new design.

The design was finalized in late 2019. But there were issues producing the new boxes locally. With the holidays approaching, Aarti put the project on hold.

One day, she saw an Instagram post about a packaging company based in New Delhi. She was headed there soon, for a wedding. At the factory she met a young woman named Arti. They worked long distance with our Aarti, after she returned home.

That’s where the royal blue came in. The first design made in that color palate was for the “Give a Little Love” chocolate hearts.

During the pandemic, Aarti and Arti finalized 27 new package designs. They arrived right before Valentine’s Day.

You can see the new blue at Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates. She has no plans to change that evocative, colorful name.

 

Roundup: Jazz, Food, Black History, More


Outdoor entertainment returned to MoCA Westport last night. A socially distanced crowd enjoyed Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Alexa Tarantino Quartet.

More concerts will be announced soon.

Outdoors at MoCA.

With food insecurity still a serious issue, the Westport Woman’s Club Food Closet is grateful for a nice donation from Westport National Bank.

Any organizations or family can donate food to neighbors in need. Bring non-perishable donations to the WWC 44 Imperial Avenue) from 9 a.m. to onoon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If the clubhouse is locked, call 203-227-4240.

Monetary donations are also welcome. Click here, or send a check made out to Westport Woman’s Club to WWC, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT  06880.

At the Westport Woman’s Club food pantry (from left); Wendy McKeon, WWC food closet co-chair; Robin Clark, WWC member and Westport National Bank vice president; Selma Blue, WNB head teller.


The “hidden history of Black Westport” will be visible to Westporters next Saturday (September 12, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.)

As a follow-up to the Westport Museum of History & Culture’s “Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport” exhibit, guides will lead tour groups (maximum of 10 people) throughout downtown.

They’ll describe local history, from enslaved people to soldiers, sailors, activists, artists, and respected residents, through existing buildings and long destroyed sites.

Tickets are $10. Reservations are required; click here to register. Foe moew information, email programs@westporthistory.org.


Aarti Khosla needs help in providing chocolate hearts to every Westport and Weston educator, as a show of thanks for all they do. 10% of all proceeds benefit another educational institution: Mercy Learning Center.

Click here to purchase hearts ($8 each). You can also stop by Aarti’s store, Le Rouge Chocolates (190 Main Street).

 


The final (and 15th) #FridayFlowers are on display at the Compo Beach lifeguard station. The Westport Garden Club — sponsor of the summer-long floral project — is grateful to the guards, and everyone at Westport Parks & Rec — for keeping our beaches safe and fun.

Pictured below (from left): David Levy, Noah Ross, Mia Parkes, Ella Thompson and Avery Tucker.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

RTM representative and Westport Writers Workshop founder Jessica Bram undergoes brain surgery at Yale University Hospital this morning.

Doctors will drain excess hydration to reverse motor, cognitive and memory impairment resulting from a recent fall.

Jessica sends affection and high regard to the Westport community, past and current writing students, RTM colleagues, and Webb Road neighbors.


And finally … today is National Be Late for Something Day. I’ll have a song for you later. Maybe.

Roundup: Lobster Rolls, Le Rouge, Library Cards, More


It took a while, but the Compo Beach food trailer is now open in the grassy area between the concession stand and lifeguard shack. The limited menu includes a ($19.99) lobster roll. Bon appétit!

Not the beach lobster roll. For illustration only.


Aarti Khosla — owner of Le Rouge Chocolates — gives plenty of love. Her chocolate hearts have brought smiles to first responders, Bridgeport high school graduates and more.

As she has read about the COVID dilemma facing teachers — who must balance being true to their calling with protecting the health of their families — she decided to give hearts to every Westport teacher and staff member.

“They are someone’s sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives. They also happen to be our local heroes,” Aarti says.

School reopens next week, so she needs the community’s help. And fast.

Click here to purchase hearts ($8 each). You can also stop by her store (190 Main Street).

As always, 10% of all proceeds goes to charity. This campaign will benefit Mercy Learning Center, the wonderful Bridgeport women’s organization.

You can help package the hearts too. The last time she did this, she had people from 8 to 80 helping.

Lend a hand. Have a heart. Give a heart!


Welcome to September. The calendar includes Labor Day, the Jewish High Holy Days — and Library Card Sign-up Month.

The Westport Library issues free cards to Westport residents, town employees, and Westport public and private school teachers. Non-Westporters can purchase a card.

You can apply for in person at the library, or click here.


And finally … speaking of Library Card Sign-Up Month:

 

Roundup: Governor Lamont, Marc Lasry Speak; Musicians Play; Helicopter Flies; More


Phase 2 of Connecticut’s reopening begins next Wednesday (June 17). It’s a big day for Governor Ned Lamont. And at 9 a.m., he shares it with the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

He’s the special guest and speaker for their virtual “Morning Network” meeting. The event is free — and open to all.

Lamont will give an update on the pandemic, discuss the next phase in reopening, offer his views on the future, and answer questions. They may be submitted ahead of time by email, or through the chat function during the event.

Pre-registration is required; click here.

Governor Ned Lamont


Also virtual — and also featuring big names — is the Westport Library’s next Trefz Newsmakers series.

CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent (and 1988 Staples High School graduate) Jeff Pegues interviews billionaire businessman, hedge fund manager, major Democratic Party donor, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner (and Westport resident) Marc Lasry.

They’ll talk about Lasry’s career, how he gives back, his advice for entrepreneurs, and COVID-19’s effect on business and the sports world.

To register, click here.


Driving around Westport and Weston, Aarti Khosla has been touched by the many yard signs and balloons congratulating high school and middle school graduates. She’s been impressed by the banners on Main Street, not far from Le Rouge — her “aartisan” chocolate shop.

But as she thought about all that’s going on America today, she was inspired to act on the words that she fervently believes in: “Spread love.” And what better place to spread love than nearby Bridgeport?

She called the superintendent of schools, and offered to celebrate their graduates with “Give a Little Love” hearts. Here’s her message to “06880” readers:

“Next week, 1115 Bridgeport students will graduate from high school. This is an enormous accomplishment. We recognize the obstacles they overcame to achieve success.

“Le Rouge asks for your support in celebrating these graduates. We will make chocolate hearts to celebrate every Bridgeport high school senior. If each Westport graduating senior — or a relative or friend, or perfect stranger — agrees to celebrate 3 Bridgeport students with a $25 sponsorship, we can give our love to the entire community via chocolate hearts.

“We have until next Monday to make this a reality. Click here to help.”

Aarti Khosla’s wonderful chocolates

 


Some youngsters returned to their elementary schools for the first time since March today. It was also their last time at “their” school.

“Moving up” car parades were held for 5th graders around town. This was the scene captured by Kings Highway Elementary School parent Tricia Lau-Lewis.

All 5 kids went to KHS. The youngest will be in 5th grade there next year.

Meanwhile, after the Saugatuck El parade, Carolyn Doan’s family headed to Sunny Daes. They met some Greens Farms Elementary folks there (below).

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


MoCA Westport shut down in mid-March. But their beautiful Steinway grand piano did not sit idle.

As part of their pandemic programming, they invited accomplished local pianists to perform. They filmed them, and shared the virtual concerts free on their YouTube page.

Pianists are invited to play music of their choice. Some — like Chris Coogan — are inspired by MoCA’s current Helmut Lang exhibition. He wrote and performed an original piece.

This week’s performance features two Staples students. Patrick Looby and Lucas Lieberman are rising seniors. They played together in November, at Carnegie Hall.

For MoCA they play Aram Khachaturian’s  lively waltz “Masquerade.” Enjoy!


More music news! Drew Angus — the 2007 Staples High School grad profiled recently on “06880” as an example of a gig worker navigating his way through the coronavirus crisis — performs via Zoom this Friday (June 12, 12 noon).

It’s a Westport Senior Center production — but it’s open to everyone who wants to hear the work of this talented young singer/songwriter.

Click here for the Zoom link (meeting ID: 883 1489 6846; password: 2DHJSV). It’s also available on Facebook (click here, or search for Toquet Hall).


Here’s a sight you don’t see every day: Yesterday, a helicopter apparently headed for a landing at Old Mill Beach or Sherwood Island State Park.

If you know the back story, click “Comment” below.


And finally … this is a poignant song at any time. Particularly at graduation. And really particularly this year.

Here’s to the Class of 2020. You haven’t seen each other for a while. But you’ve come a long way from where you began. I hope you see each other for a long time, soon.

COVID-19 Roundup: ReBooked; Star Cakes And STAR; Marina And Dump Rules; More


One of the highlights of the Westport Library year is its Booked for the Evening fundraiser. One of the other highlights is the announcement of the star.

Past honorees include Tom Brokaw, E. L. Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Will Shortz, Patti Smith,  Jon Meacham, Nile Rodgers, Lynsey Addario, Alan Alda, Justin Paul, and Frederic Chu.

This year’s Booked for the Evening is a two-fer: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, Pulitzer-prize winning authors of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement.”

Unfortunately, the spring event has been postponed. A new date has not been announced. Library officials reassure their many fans: It will be rebooked, for some evening!


Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates announces its newest creation — and a new chance to make a difference.

For every ⭐️Star Cake⭐️ ordered this Mother’s Day season, owner and ace chocolatier Aarti Khosla will donate another cake to a “star mom” fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines. Click here to order, for curbside pickup or delivery.


New rules went into effect today at the transfer station.

Everyone must wear a mask. The number of vehicles entering the facility will be limited and monitored. During high traffic days (Saturdays, Mondays), cars must queue in a single line on the Sherwood Island Connector.

Transfer station personnel cannot assist residents with the removal or disposal of solid waste from vehicles. Do not bring bulky items that require assistance.

During the pandemic, all fees and collection of refuse tickets will be waived.

Social distancing is strictly enforced. Every other parking space is blocked off.

Just think: Every Saturday morning before COVID, this was the center of Westport social life.

(Photo/Michael Calise; hat tip Dick Lowenstein)


Compo Beach is closed to vehicular traffic. But anyone with a boat slip at the Ned Dimes Marina will be mailed a temporary allowing entrance to the marina Lot. Town officials emphasize: This is only to provide access to boats!


This Thursday (April 30, 9 a.m.) the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsors a free networking event with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. Click here to register, and find out how the town is coping with the coronavirus.


Yvonne O’Kane is a great friend to STAR Lighting the Way. During the pandemic, she’s led Zoom art and garden classes for participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

One was on flower arranging; she’ll follow up soon with a virtual tour of her gardens. Also ahead: preparing simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvres. Yesterday’s class was on rock decorating.

They all look beautiful. But I’m partial to the one that says “06880.”


Ilene Strizver writes: “I have moved locally and have furniture to donate. Goodwill does not take furniture at this time, and all consignment shops are closed. Do any readers know where to donate, possibly with pickup, during the virus? I’d hate to trash everything, and would rather not post on Facebook.”

Ideas? Click “Comments” below.

Not Ilene’s furniture.


Shoreline Pharmacy — the “old-fashioned” drugstore near the Southport line — closed yesterday. Owners Phil and Karen Hein opened near Shake Shack 3 years ago.


Staples High School junior Chloe Ashton won 2nd place in State Senator Will Haskell’s essay contest. He invited students to write essays describing what they’d focus on, if they were elected to public office. Chloe focused on changes to the Electoral College.

Haskell planned to visit schools and present citations to the winners. With schools closed indefinitely, he’s posting a video on social media, and writing each winner a personalized note.


And finally … thanks, Josh Groban. You raise me — and everyone else — up!