Shortlisted, 2021 Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction, and 2021 Taste Canada Awards — Culinary Narratives Category
Nominated for 3 Gourmand Awards
An Atlantic Bestseller
A Hill Times Top 100 Selection (2020)
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.
"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."
"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."
"I admit that when reading this, I had a few tears and felt so proud to be a Canadian!"
"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."
"Sad and sometimes harrowing, it is testament to the strength a loving family possesses, giving its members the endurance to overcome seemingly impossible odds."
"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."
"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."
"Inspiring, uplifting, and essential reading for all."