Syrian choco­latier cel­e­brates fac­tory open­ing with Nova Scotia town

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

ANTIGO­NISH, N.S. — A Syrian refugee says he and his fam­ily are giv­ing back to the Nova Scotia town that wel­comed them when they had “noth­ing ” by em­ploy­ing lo­cals and treat­ing the com­mu­nity to tours of their new choco­late fac­tory.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple waited in line Satur­day at Peace by Choco­late — whose sweets have been touted by none other than Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau — for the grand open­ing of its new fac­tory in Antigo­nish.

Spec­ta­tors looked on as As­sam Had­had deftly scooped molten choco­late into trays to be filled, frozen and boxed into rows of sweets shaped like pyra­mids, roses and maple leafs.

Had­had ran a choco­late busi­ness in Da­m­as­cus for decades, but it was de­stroyed in a 2012 bomb­ing, forc­ing the fam­ily to flee to a refugee camp in Le­banon.

His son Tareq Had­had, an as­pir­ing physi­cian, says his eyes welled up with tears as he cel­e­brated with the res­i­dents of Antigo­nish, whose sup­port he cred­its for his al­low­ing his fam­ily to re­build af­ter set­tling in the town of about 5,000 in early 2016.

Tareq Had­had, now a board mem­ber of Nova Scotia’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency, says Peace by Choco­late plans to dou­ble its work­force to 20 em­ploy­ees to keep up with de­mand and spread its mes­sage across the globe.

Res­i­dents of Antigo­nish say they take pride in the Had­had fam­ily’s suc­cess and see­ing their town turned into a bea­con of how open­ness pays back in spades. The Cana­dian Press

DAR­REN CALABRESE/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Syrian choco­latier As­sam Had­had makes choco­late as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity tour Peace By Choco­late’s newly-opened fac­tory in Antigo­nish, N.S.

DAR­REN CALABRESE/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A box of choco­lates is shown at the Peace By Choco­late fac­tory.

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