Dentists may despair at the international obsession with chocolate, but no matter one’s nationality this sweet blend of cocoa and sugar is beguiling to palettes everywhere. Svitoch, one of Ukraine’s most popular brands of chocolate, has fed this country’s history of chocolate obsession since the 8th century and continues to satisfy cravings today.
The development of Ukraine’s confectionary industry coincides with some of greatest social and political events over the centuries. When the Ukrainian city of L’viv became the administrative center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1772, small scale confectionary manufacturers were consolidated by larger conglomerates. By 1904, all production of chocolate was regulated by rules established by The Society of Confectionary Workers for Halychyna and Bukovyna, requiring workers to undergo specialized training in order to pass an aggressive exam.
The city of L’viv further consolidated its chocolate producing empire by uniting the three main factories with a number of smaller concerns. Renamed and converted to state-run industries when the Bolsheviks came to western Ukraine in 1939, chocolate production largely came to a standstill after the subsequent German occupation of the region for the duration of the Second World War.
Sweets with different fillings, caramels, waffles, biscuits, and chocolates flooded the market after the war, and the Svitoch firm took center stage in Ukrainian chocolate production. An emphasis on dark, rich, chocolate was the industry’s trademark until the company, Nestle, promising an investment of $40 million, became one of the firm’s primary investors, and a Western-oriented recipe with a lower cocoa content temporarily changed the dimension of Ukrainian chocolate.
Recognized for over two centuries as a “chocolate capital”, the Lviv based company has returned to its dark chocolate roots and produces products with natural ingredients. As Ukraine’s oldest and largest producer of chocolate, biscuits and other confectionery products, the Svitoch company delights visitors and locals alike.