The Greentrepreneur: La Divina

By William Martin The city of New Orleans radiates Spanish and French influence, but the tastes of Italy are a little scarcer to come by. Fortunately, one delightful Italian restaurant sprang into the spotlight of this year's Green Games and, aside from its infamous made-from-scratch gelato, has been a pioneer in the green restaurant industry since its origination. La Divina is, from the ground up, as environmentally conscious as possible. From a structural standpoint, La Divina's multiple locations all boastĀ VOC-free paint (Volatile Organic Compounds are commonly found in paints, sealants, and adhesives and are proven to have adverse effects on human respiratory systems), tankless water heaters to conserve energy, sunlights to provide natural luminescence, and are renovated with high efficiency appliances to ensure their footprint is as insignificant as possible. It is evident upon entry that La Divina has spared no expense to maximize quality and reduce their impact. No matter if you order in or take out, La Divina has environmentally sound ways to accommodate you. Every year Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups-each of which will still be completely intact, in a landfill, in 500 years. La Divina utilizes alternative materials for all of its to-go containers, which are comprised of biodegradable plastics that are manufactured from corn and potatoes. If you are dining on location, they make an extra effort to use real silverware, dishes, and glassware whenever possible to eliminate unnecessary waste. However, just having a soft spot for the earth alone is not an attribute that attracts potential diners. That's why our Green Games champions' founders traveled all through Italy, witnessing and trialing firsthand the renowned and refined techniques of Italian cooking. They start with ensuring their ingredients are local, organic, and as fresh as possible-from using milk from hormone-free cows to fully organic sugar. Throw the authentic Italian culinary techniques into the mix, and a La Divina dish is born. And after every hearty meal comes dessert-La Divina's specialty. Their gelato is the only paste-free, powder-free, and base-free gelato in the state. Their artisanal methods are as Italian as Rome, creating a sweet, cool treat that will hit the spot during any season. Not to mention gelato, albeit quite similar to ice cream, is actually much healthier than its American counterpart. With three locations around New Orleans, La Divina is never too far away. Also, you can rest assured that once your meal is over, it will be your stomach, not a landfill, that is full. So the next time you crave a tasty and healthy meal, stop by La Divina's and see for yourself the environmental and culinary efforts that earned them the "Best Overall" award in this year's Green Games.

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