A talk with Mary Eritsyan and Armine Piloyan Vrteska: From a simple coffee talk to unique small business

We bring you the story of two migrants originally from Armenia, who live in Macedonia - Mary Eritsyan and Armine Piloyan Vrteska.

Mary and Armine reveal to us that their "chocolate journey" began with a simple coffee chat. They began to learn and master the art of handmade chocolates, made from original Belgian chocolate, filled with a variety of flavors, creams and fillings.


Mary Eritsyan and Armine Piloyan Vrteska / photo:

We had a talk with these inspiring women about what it's like to be a small business owner far from their home country, what challenges they've faced and what's the secret behind the fascinatingly designed chocolates with great taste and amazing shapes.

Who are Armine Pilojan Vrteska and Mary Eritsian? How did the road bring you to Macedonia and what made you stay?

– Armine and Mary are two friends from Armenia, who meet for the first time in Skopje. Our meeting is the result of our family stories.

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Part of the chocolates in La Ganache /

How was the idea of handmade chocolates born? Is the creation of the art a team effort, or is one of you responsible for the taste and recipe and the other for the aesthetics and decoration?

– The idea of handmade chocolates was born because of our desire to create something in which each of us will find ourselves. The years of socializing with our friends in Skopje and across Macedonia allowed us to get to know the traditions and flavors of different cultures. The little chocolate pleasure plays a significant role in our lives when we want to share our happiness with our loved ones, to give smiles and pleasant emotions, but also when we want to comfort someone, it encourages us to explore and delve deeper into the world of chocolate. The road took us to Antwerp, Belgium, where the chocolatiers of the "Chocolate World" introduced us to the secrets of hand-crafting chocolate creations. Our chocolate making is a combination of individual creations and teamwork in terms of both flavors and aesthetics.

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The owners of “La Ganache” /

 Can you draw a small parallel between life in Armenia and life in Macedonia? What are you missing, and what have you gained here? Did you make chocolates there as well?

- Both countries, although similar, have their own authenticity. It is normal to miss our homeland, especially when it offers great opportunities for artists, art and handicrafts. In Macedonia, we got to know a new language, culture, people and, among other things, we dared to start a business. The idea of making chocolates was born here.

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Part of the chocolates in La Ganache / photo:

How are people reacting to your unique chocolates? Do they recognize the gastronomic moment of Belgian chocolate or do they need more information?

- The very fact that in a year and a half we have an increasing number of supporters of our work and consumers, who are ambassadors of the uniqueness of our products, makes us happy and satisfied. The gastronomic moment of Belgian chocolate is recognized by our consumers, but mainly more information are needed about handmade chocolate products.

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Part of the chocolates in La Ganache / photo:

Out of the selection you offer, what are your favorite flavors? What would you recommend to those who haven't tried your chocolates before?

– Our range of products includes more than 25 flavors in different designs, including classic caramel, various caramelized nuts, coffee-flavored pralines, crunchy salted caramel, toffee, various fruit pralines, raffaello, snickers… Those who haven't tried them, will find pralines for everyone's taste and we are sure that they will become part of our chocolate family, and the pralines of "La Ganache" will be an indispensable gift for their loved ones.

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Part of the chocolates in La Ganache / photo:

What challenges and successes do you face as women entrepreneurs?

- The challenges that "La Ganache" as a chocolate startup has faced and continues to face are the pandemic and the constant growth of operating costs. The pandemic was the reason for the delay in the beginning of our operation and the small number of buyers. At the moment, the existing growth in the price of raw materials and electricity are exerting strong pressure on the rentability of our operations. In order to meet these challenges and continue to meet the needs of chocolate lovers, we need the support of our chocolate family in spreading the story of our chocolate products. We expect that in the coming period, there will be adequate funds available to support the operation and development of our chocolate startup.

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