It’s sad that when we think of Syria now, we think of tragic narratives of a devastated city, torn apart by civil war. We think of refugees, a dispossessed people, and a group of kids who have lost years and years of schooling, and childhood.
Fortunately, however, there are two sides to every story. Indeed, even amongst the stories of refugee despair, there are still stories of new found hope in novel territories. This story takes place in Nova Scotia, Canada, its protagonist is Assam Hadhad, the Syrian refugee, and chocolatier.
Hadhad began his career as a chocolatier in his hometown of Damascus, Syria, where he was able to grow his passion into one of the world’s most famous chocolate factories. Hadhad’s local Syrian business witnessed international success, as Hadhad received orders from clients all around the world.
It wasn’t all fine and dandy for Hadhad. His path came to stifling halt when his beloved hometown was haunted by the ghost of war, pushing Hadhad and his family out of the country and into Canada. Hadhad’s passion for chocolate, however, outweighed the personal devastation and estrangement most refugees rightfully experience.
Consequently, Hadhad decided to re-open his chocolate business, and run it from his new home’s shed, and soon enough town locals began to take notice of Hadhad’s delicious chocolates.
Remaining true to his Syrian-Arabic roots, Hadhad’s chocolates’ are designed to resemble the Egyptian Pyramids and the Damascus Rose. Hadhad also incorporates the signature Canadian Maple Leaf, as an indication of his gratitude towards the country and community that readily welcomed him.
Hadhad calls his chocolate brand Peace-by-Chocolate to pay homage to the value of the ideal of peace that has come to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of those who have lost it in their hometowns; what a better way to pay homage to peace, than a universal comfort food associated with the hormones of happiness.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently met with Hadhad, and his family, after he had recounted the Hadhad’s family story at a UN conference in New York. Hadhad expressed that he possesses serious plans to expand his chocolate business, and hire both Syrian and Canadian employees.