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Conscientious Confectioners: Cocoa Vino Chocolates

When she was in college, Avril Pendergast-Fischer "wanted to save the world." Now she and her best friend, Alisha Lumea, both 30, are doing their part, one bonbon at a time. After working for six hard years in international humanitarian aid, studying pastry arts and wine in their free time, they finally left what Lumea dubs "the disaster business" for a happier kind of business. In February they launched Cocoa Vino, a Brooklyn company that makes wine-infused chocolates (dark chocolate with Malbec, buttery caramel with sherry) and coordinates wine-and-chocolate parties. But, says Pendergast-Fischer, "you don't need to sacrifice your principles or feel guilty in the pursuit of pleasure." Cocoa Vino purchases only fair-trade, organic and sustainably produced ingredients, supporting cacao farms that don't use child labor. That cacao will be featured in Cocoa Vino's newest offerings too: port-soaked, chocolate-dipped figs ($27 for a box of 12; 646-418-7634 or

Published October 2005


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