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Biography & Autobiography Business

Peace by Chocolate

The Hadhad Family’s Remarkable Journey from Syria to Canada

by (author) Jon Tattrie

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Business, Emigration & Immigration, Cultural Heritage
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
    $19.95 USD
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

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Finalist, Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction, and Taste Canada Awards (Culinary Narratives)
Nominated for 3 Gourmand Awards
An Atlantic Bestseller
A Hill Times Top 100 Selection
February 2016. Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Tareq Hadhad was worried about his father: Isam did not know what to do with his life. Before the war began in Syria, Isam had run a chocolate company for over twenty years. But that life was gone now. The factory was destroyed, and he and his family had spent three years in limbo as refugees before coming to Canada. So, in an unfamiliar kitchen in a small town, Isam began to make chocolate again.

This remarkable book tells the extraordinary story of the Hadhad family — Isam, his wife Shahnaz, and their sons and daughters — and the founding of the chocolatier, Peace by Chocolate. From the devastation of the Syrian civil war, through their life as refugees in Lebanon, to their arrival in a small town in Atlantic Canada, Peace by Chocolate is the story of one family. It is also the story of the people of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and so many towns across Canada, who welcomed strangers and helped them face the challenges of settling in an unfamiliar land.

About the author

Jon Tattrie is a journalist whose ancestors arrived in Nova Scotia with EdwardCornwallis. This is his third historical book, following Black Snow, a novel setin the 1917 Halifax Explosion, and The Hermit of Africville (see page 10), abiography of one of Canada’s longest-running political protesters. The Hermitof Africville was a finalist for the 2010 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Awardfor Historical Writing. Tattrie lives in Halifax with his wife.

Jon Tattrie's profile page


  • Nominated, Gourmand Award (Charity, North America Fun Raising)
  • Nominated, Gourmand Award (Subject, Chocolate)
  • Nominated, Gourmand Award (Charity, Peace)
  • Short-listed, Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction
  • Short-listed, Taste Canada Awards (Culinary Narratives)
  • Short-listed, A <i>Hill Times</i> Top 100 Selection

Editorial Reviews

"Inspiring, uplifting, and essential reading for all."

James Mullinger, Editor-in-Chief, <i>[EDIT] Magazine</i>

"Sad and sometimes harrowing, it is testament to the strength a loving family possesses, giving its members the endurance to overcome seemingly impossible odds."

<i>Oakville News</i>

"I admit that when reading this, I had a few tears and felt so proud to be a Canadian!"

<i>Canadian Cookbooks</i>

"I thought I knew about the Hadhad family’s journey, yet this book added depth and nuance to an already fascinating story. It encompasses the resilience of the Hadhads and the compassion and action of so many people – from the IRCC staff to the Antigonish community members who embraced the whole family."

Marie Chapman, CEO, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

"An important, compassionate book, which everyone should read. It will change how you think about Syrian refugees. Peace by Chocolate will open your heart and mind and move you to reach out to people in need. This is a book about never losing hope."

Tima Kurdi, author of <i>The Boy on the Beach</i>

"A beautiful story of adversity, loss, love, and hope. This captivating read shows us the power and potential of vision, drive, and community through the incredible journey of the Hadhad family — truly inspiring."

Jana Sobey, Vice President, Merchandising, Sobeys Inc

"A story that reminds us that even against enormous odds positive outcomes are possible and that remarkable things can be accomplished through hard work and perseverance."

<i>Miramichi Reader</i>

"Jon Tattrie expertly weaves the extraordinary story of the Hadhad family’s journey from Syria to Canada with a portrayal of the Antigonish community that came together to support them. Peace by Chocolate is a timely tale of triumph, a story about the gift of community and the power of determination, and one family’s passion for chocolate. We need more heartwarming stories like this, especially today."

Ayelet Tsabari, author of <i>The Art of Leaving</i>

“A tale that inspired a community, a film, a book, the prime minister’s speech at the United Nations, and even astronauts in space.”

<i>Canadian Geographic</i>

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