On a recent visit to New Paltz to explore the areas vegan eats and treats I was delighted to visit Lagusta’s Luscious. I had previously ordered Lagusta’s chocolates by mail as well as bought them at Bryant Park’s Christmas Market in NYC, so I was looking forward to experiencing the place at the heart of it all as well as to follow up with some questions for Lagusta by email. Thank You for your time Lagusta! I ladore your chocolates!
Annika: When did you establish Lagusta’s Luscious?
Lagusta: I started making chocolates under the name Lagusta’s Luscious in 2003. For nine years I ran a meal delivery service, where I cooked high-quality vegan meals using local produce and whole foods that were delivered to clients in NYC every week. It was wonderful and I loved interacting with local farmers to get produce, but in time I developed more of an interest in the small line of chocolates that I was making on the side. I’m a tidy and precise person, and making chocolates is an activity that very much rewards tidiness and precision. I was thinking more and more about chocolates, and in 2010 I decided to shut down the meal delivery and focus on sweets full-time. In 2011 my partner and I bought the building the chocolate shop is in currently and started to slowly renovate it so we could open a shop instead of just shipping the chocolates. The shop opened in June, 2011.
Annika: What inspired you to start a vegan chocolate shop?
Lagusta: I’ve been vegan since I was 15 and in time I came to realize that the vegan world can seem to be, to an outsider, all about deprivation and strict rules. I like the idea of making vegan chocolate because it is so rich and luxurious. It shows people that veganism, even though it begins with a moral impulse, can be just as sophisticated and decadent as the mainstream food world. I went to culinary school after college so I could have a job I loved that somehow advanced veganism, and I feel so happy I landed on this weird chocolate business.
Annika: What inspired you to found Lagusta’s Luscious in New Paltz?
Lagusta: My partner Jacob and I moved here from the NYC area in 2004. He tours with indie bands as a sound engineer, so he could live anywhere. I wanted to live in a town with good organic farms that could supply my meal delivery service and chocolates. We couldn’t afford to live as close to NYC as we wanted, so we kept moving north and looking at towns. Someone at the Union Square greenmarket in Manhattan mentioned to me that New Paltz was a cool liberal town—the mayor was in the Green Party, was our age, and was marrying gay couples just for kicks. We went to visit and found out there were great organic farms right in town. We bought our house a month later.