Marian Rivkind launched Yölka in 2011, inspired by her own upbringing and her desire to pass on traditional holiday experiences to her young children.
As a little girl living in Toronto, Canada, the holidays were a joyous, but confusing time for her family. Born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents but raised in a communist country, her parents had little knowledge of Jewish traditions and had adopted Russian holiday traditions instead.
Upon leaving the old country to make a life in Canada, Marian’s mother stowed away these precious antique Russian glass ornaments. Every year around the holidays, her mother would take out these antique ornaments resembling the 15th Century Russian Kremlin with its colorful, ornate towers, and then would gather as a family and decorate their “Yolka” (Russian translation: “holiday tree”).
As Marian and her sister grew older, their interest in decorating the tree with these precious pieces became more appealing, much to their mother’s dismay. These ornaments had survived a trip to the new world, but her mother knew they wouldn’t survive the good intentions of little fingers.
Marian’s mother was inspired to draw on her Russian heritage when families hung fruit and candy on trees as precious treats for the children. She created hand-made foil-wrapped chocolate ornaments for her daughters to hang and eat. Marian and her sister were on their best behavior all day so they could gather with their family and pluck and eat these yummy treats from the tree.
Fast-forward 20 years … Marian’s four-year-old son begged to hang a treasured glass ornament. Predictably, it fell and shattered. Her first response was to recall her own childhood experience of her mother’s creative holiday tradition. She searched everywhere for these chocolate ornaments, to no avail. Thus, the idea for Yölka was born. Today, her own children continue to unwrap the tradition.
Email Marian : Yolka Chocolates
About Our Chocolate
Our chocolate starts with premium quality cocoa beans from responsibly managed farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana — countries known for some of the finest cocoa in the world. In Belgium, the beans are roasted and converted into fine chocolate using top-notch European ingredients and equipment.
Our recipe mandates an extra measure of cocoa butter — the most expensive ingredient. This translates in a glossy chocolate with a luxurious and smooth taste.