The finest pralines, chocolates and candied fruit as far as the eye can see. Aromas of cocoa, nuts and chocolate in the air… Willy Wonka would be pale with envy if, like me, he were given a private tour of the Ghraoui factory by Mohamed M. Midani.
Around 70 chocolatiers work here in the family business on the outskirts of Budapest. Using the best ingredients, most of which are imported by the owner family from their home country, they produce artful pralines and high-quality chocolates by hand using traditional methods and with immeasurable attention to detail. The various motifs are painted into the molds by hand or nuts are placed on chocolates. These little palate-pleasers are coated twice with wafer-thin chocolate to create the best interplay of individual flavors in the mouth. It is a pleasure to look over the shoulders of the employees.
Ghraoui’s candied fruits are shrouded in legend. They are produced in a highly secured part of the building away from the praline factory and the secret recipe is only known to a handful of Syrian pastry chefs.
THE GHRAOUI STORY
Syria? Yes, Syria. The story of Ghraoui’s luxury chocolates begins in Damascus in 1805. At that time, the family mainly traded in coffee, tea, sugar and fruit, but at the beginning of the 20th century, Sadek A. Ghraoui fell in love with chocolate on a business trip to Paris and decided to sell it in the Middle East. Unbelievable but true: at the beginning, chocolate had a hard time in Syria. So heavy that Sadek Ghraoui places silver scissors and gold letter openers in his boxes of chocolates so that people will buy them.
But success is not long in coming. Soon the entire Levant region loved Ghraoui’s sweet delicacies. Supported by French chocolatiers, the company even managed to expand into Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Luxury department stores in Paris and London include the products in their range, even Queen Elizabeth II appreciates the sweet treasures from Damascus.
Unfortunately, the rest of the story is bittersweet. While the world was falling at the feet of Ghraoui’s first-class products – they were awarded the Prix d’Honneur at the Paris Salon du Chocolat in 2005 – the family lost their company three times due to political upheavals. Most recently in 2012 at the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.
2017 the Renaissance in Budapest. Bassam S. Ghraoui, Sadek’s son, opens a classy boutique next to the manufactory on fashionable Andrássy Boulevard. In a foreign city and in a new guise, but with traditional recipes, identical quality standards and an unbroken love of chocolate.
Since then, the family has expanded with boutiques in Damascus, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar – and now also in our Mr. Food & Travel store .
NEW IN THE SHOP
After our visit on site and extensive tastings, we are impressed by the quality of the Ghraoui products enthusiastic. We are now offering the entire range in our concept store. We are very pleased!
Szabadság t. 7. | H-1054 Budapest