Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chocolate vulvas

A thank you letter from the Texas Senate, a sliding scale socialist soup special, made in the USA coffee mugs, the purple-covered book Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat, and vulva-shaped bonbons to round it out. Welcome to New Paltz chocolate shop Lagusta’s Luscious.

Founded in 2003 by vegan chef Lagusta Yearwood, the shop sits on quiet North Front Street and is filled with, just to name a few: strawberries and cream chocolate bark, pistachio praline chocolate bars, coconut-rum and absinthe truffles, raspberries de Pizan, and chocolate coconut cream pyramids. Some, like Selma’s peppermint patties and Vandana Shivas, are named after feminist luminaries.  For the indecisive looking to take something home, there’s a 16-piece assortment box.

What makes Lagusta’s different and engaging is the owner’s commitment to social justice, environmentalism, animal rights, and my favorite: women's issues. We're all aware of the stereotypes of women and our "Guilty pleasure" chocolate, but Lagusta sheds new light with her outlook. "I don't want my joyful little chocolates to make anyone feel bad about themselves, or guilty, or naughty (except in a kinky way.)," she writes in her website's blog. "I want my chocolates to be a celebration of life, of diversity, of happiness and wonder at what the earth can produce." Her online shop offers mail order services, and you can check out her personal blog, Resistance is Fertile, on consumption, politics, femininity, and more.

My boyfriend and I were thinking of taking a trip to Florida later this year and I hope to see my doula friend Erica of Wind & Water Birth Services. What better Hudson Valley gift to bring than vulva-shaped chocolates.

"In this vein, I strive to make eating chocolate—so tied in American popular culture with women’s rituals and private pleasures—a revolutionary act through not only the celebration of the pure pleasure of eating this feminine-identified treat, but through the political decisions made at every stage in the process of its manufacture.” –Lagusta Yearwood

Lagusta’s Lusciouus:
Resistance is Fertile:
Wind & Water Birth Services:

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