Olsi is an abbreviation of the name and surname of Olga Sikorskayej. She has Polish roots after her grandmother. So when the question of where to go and start a new life appeared there was no doubt: Poland. The choice fell on Wroclaw - they knew that the city has a warm atmosphere, and they like it.
In Minsk, Belarus, Olga Sikorskaya and her life partner Dmitriy Chernykh ran a thriving chocolate factory. They started in 2017 and three years later they had 150 points selling their products all over the country.
In 2020, everything stopped due to the coronavirus pandemics. We were left with unsold goods. In addition, there were political events, a wave of anti-government protests and a harsh reaction from the authorities. Many friends were repressed. They had to shut down their businesses. Overnight, our friends' cafes and shops disappeared from our street. The mere posting of the white, red and white Belarusian flag on Instagram caused phone calls from the security services to calm down and not to do so. We found that we no longer wanted to live in such conditions – Olga Sikorskaya, runs the Olsi chocolate manufacture.
From Belarus to Wrocław
In a month they closed their activities, packed things and some machines. They loaded their belongings in the car and set off into the unknown.
They took advantage of the help of the Polish government as part of Poland.Business Harbor. This program makes it easier for companies, IT specialists and startups to relocate to Poland, including Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia. In Wroclaw, Mrs Olga's family is helped by the Wroclaw Agglomeration Development Agency.
Olga is 39, Dmitriy 47, they moved with their 6-year-old son Makara. Recently, Olga's 19-year-old daughter, who studied medicine in Minsk, joined them. They dream of continuing her education in Wroclaw.
Olga does not part with her smartphone. If he cannot find a Polish word, he uses a translator. But Makary also helps, as he easily assimilates the language, learning from his colleagues.
Olsi chocolate manufacture - a story like from an Italian comedy
Belgians and Swiss have been racing in this business for centuries. The best sweet cocoa products are made by small, often family-run workshops. This is also the case with the Olsi chocolatier.
Dmitriy, a lawyer by training, for years worked as an energy engineer and built transformer stations, and Olga, a nurse and a psychologist, took up the production of chocolate by accident. The Italian comedy from 2007, "Chocolate Lessons", fits their story like a glove. It is a story of how an ordinary worker in the construction industry is forced to take chocolate manufacturing courses and realizes that life can be completely different.
- This is our story - laughs Olga and tells how she used to look for chocolate as a gift, nicely wrapped with a unique taste, but in the store there were only mass-produced ones from two national confectioneries in Belarus. She thought: Why not make the chocolate yourself, and that's how it started.
The secret of good chocolate
The recipes were taken care of by a fellow confectioner with whom they started their business. He knew how to make chocolate, but he wanted to produce a lot of it and earn a lot from it. The vision of Olga and Dmitry was different: a product of excellent quality, in small series and beautifully packaged.
The secret of chocolate is the cocoa bean. A warm climate, suitable soil and air humidity count. Such ideal conditions can be found, among others in Côte d'Ivoire, and that's where the cocoa they make their chocolate from.
For a confectioner, chocolate is like a diamond for a jeweler
Olga and Dmitriy share responsibilities. She is in charge of sales and marketing, he is in charge of the kitchen. He carefully selects the ingredients, comes up with flavors and admits that he agrees with the opinion that chocolate for a confectioner is like a diamond for a jeweler. When asked about the recipe for the best one, he says briefly: it is the one that gives joy and happiness. I don't want to reveal more.
Olga adds that the condition for good chocolate is the lack of vegetable fats. And that's how their pralines, marshmallows and chocolate-covered fruits do. They have chocolates with almonds, hazelnuts, raspberries, currants, mangoes or rosemary.
All our products are made only of high-quality ingredients from well-known and trusted suppliers, with no artificial colors and flavors. The guarantee of quality is the fact that our family is the first tester of what we do - Dmitriy Chernykh, runs the Olsi chocolate manufacture.
They like Wroclaw
Olga and Dmitriy brag about the kindness of the inhabitants of Wroclaw for their help in starting a new life and business. They have already bought a small apartment, rented premises for business and are waiting for clients. They believe they will succeed.
- In 10 years we want our chocolates to be known all over Poland - adds Olga.
Currently, they employ one person in the plant, but in the fall they will need professional confectioners to work and they are already looking for them.