Each piece is hand painted
Stepping into Le Rouge by Aarti feels like you’ve entered a ruby toned jewel box. True to its name, splashes of red can be found throughout the store and most prominatly in the packaging.
Founded by Aarti Khosla who has a love for the hue as well as Paris. Her late father traveled to the city quite frequently during Aarti’s childhood, always toting a few decadent French chocolates. The shop’s popular orange infused almond rocher is a direct nod to some of the treats he brought back. “My father always uses to say that we eat with our eyes before we taste anything, said Aarti, “and French cuisine epitomizes that.”
Though her love of chocolate began at an early age, Aarti’s career was quite different than what she’s doing today. With a degree in economics and finance, she ran multiple companies and relocated to Hong Kong for a few years before returning to Connecticut and opening La Rouge.
“My decision to become an artisan chocolatier was prompted by my love for chocolate and a desire to fill the void of not having any good chocolate shops in the area.”
However, a brick and mortar store was not her initial vision. It wasn’t until the introducion of European chocolate ganache cakes (which needed to be showcased) that Aarti made the plunge and opened in Westport on Black Friday in 2014.
All of the products are gluten free, and are made with dark rather than milk chocolate. This decision was made simply by Aarti believing that good chocolate does not need milk and an excess sugar to be enjoyed. “I am amazed how many people think chocolate has gluten, eggs, and flour. Good chocolate should have none of these”.
If the taste and quality of her chocolates weren’t tempting enough, each piece is hand painted to create a unique patina on the chocolate. This makes them shimmer like jewels and is a nod to Aarti’s Indian Heritage.
Some of the shop’s signature products include preserved rose truffles, Kentucky Bourbon truffles, Champagne truffles, and the truly exquistie all chocolate daisy cakes. “I wanted to offer my clients an option of an elaborately decorated cake, without using the traditional ingredients for cake decorating like buttercream or fondant. I started experimenting and came up with the daisy cake where the base is still our signature chocolate ganache cake topped with chocolate ruffles that can be custom colored with natural ingredients.”
Though the results are no doubt pretty, the excution of Le Rouge is done solely by Aarti herself, who lives by the phrase “the power of one”. Her daily tasks as an artisan chocoltier include making the chocolates, of course, but also creating new recipes. She also takes on the role as a retail merchandiser, packaging designer, marketing and social media consultant, website administrator, purchasing manager, shipping clerk, and least glamourously, the janitor.
“I want people to believe in their dream, be passionate about what they do, not to shy away from the hard work. Success will come. Not only in the form of how much money you make but in the form of enriching experiences too. It has been one fulfilling journey spreading happiness, one chocolate at a time.”
For more information about Le Rouge by Aarti, visit lerougebyaarti.com.