March’s favorite thing is chocolate by Lagusta’s Luscious, the best little chocolate shop in New Paltz, New York.
The chocolatier behind these handmade, organic and fair trade confections is Lagusta Yearwood. I have known Lagusta for many years and her beau, Jacob, for even longer. We recently reconnected because she will be featured in my upcoming photography project, Women & Food.
Chris and I drove out to New Paltz for the day. He went out in search for books and records while I happily spent a few hours talking with Lagusta about her culinary journey, chatting with her friendly staff and taking as many photos as I could. This shop is as colorful as its confections are sweet!
Before leaving on our road trip, my mother called and said simply: “Don’t come back without chocolate.” It was very difficult to pick because there were so many delicious decisions to make. I ultimately settled on an assortment of caramel truffles, a sea salt and almond slate and four bars featuring some of my very favorite ingredients.
We ran inside after pulling into my parents’ driveway so the chocolate tasting could begin! We gathered around the kitchen island and dug into the caramels. We quartered one of each and tried to see who could taste what. The Apple Caramel, infused with Hudson Valley apples and topped with a candied pecan, was the unanimous favorite. Rosemary Sea Salt and Thyme with Preserved Lemon came in second and third.
Everyone oooh’d and ahhh’d over the Smoky Corn on the Cob bar, especially Chris. The bar is vegan, in fact all of the shop’s chocolates are, but you would swear there was butter somewhere in the sweet and salty goodness. Everyone had seconds of the Four Grain Bourbon Caramel Chile bar. Made with Tuthilltown Spirits bourbon and spicy pasilla negro chilies, it packed a punch that hit you on a few angles then stayed until it decided that it was finished being tasted. I was sad to see that one go because I really wanted a third bite.
The Ginger Nibby Bar had crystallized ginger bits and cardamom…mmm! My dad (in the picture above) liked the bittersweet pistachio praline best. Pistachios are his favorite so this was a treat for him! Mom liked the Sea Salt Almond Slate the best since almonds are her favorite.
To learn more about Lagusta, her shop and the beautiful chocolates that she and her staff make everyday, visit lagustasluscious.com.