As we revealed in December, a chocolatier who fled Syria during the war is expanding his business in Hungary.
Bassam Ghraoui’s Syrian confectionary became synonymous with the finest gourmet chocolates anywhere before war decimated his business, and he is starting anew with a factory in Hungary.
Construction work to build a 7.6 billion HUF (24.91m EUR) chocolate factory in Hatvan, in northern Hungary, will start in October. The government is providing 1.5 billion HUF in funding for the investment project.
Once fully operational, annual output will reach 1,000 tons and 95 percent of the products will be exported abroad. Until then, the company’s future shops will be supplied from Csepel Island, in the south of Budapest, where production has already started at a temporary facility.
Ghraoui’s confectionary gained global renown; it won the “Prix Spécial d’Honneur” at the Salon du Chocolat trade fair in Paris in 2005. But Syria’s war slashed production at his factory in a Damascus suburb to less than 0.5 percent of its peacetime level.
His new chocolate factory is taking shape in the town of Hatvan, about 60 km (40 miles) east of Budapest, and will become operational towards the end of 2017, giving jobs to 540 people.