Goodacity – Dare to be Good

Olha Sahal
Written by
Olha Sahal
Written by
Technical Writer at United Thinkers

I am the author of the Goodacity blog, a journalist, and a translator. For 16 years, I have worked in professional journalism, contributing to regional and national publications, both in print and online media. I have written reports, conducted interviews, reviews, articles on cultural, social, and charitable topics, as well as materials in the style of "solution journalism" and communication materials.
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Yulia Didyk
Reviewed by
Yulia Didyk
Reviewed by
Culture Manager at United Thinkers

I am a manager of cultural affairs and a project manager with over 14 years of experience at United Thinkers. I have participated in the organization of numerous successful social and charitable projects and have implemented informational campaigns and communication cases.
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A 15-year-old student from the Chernihiv region crafts artisan sweets and supports the Ukrainian Armed Forces

handmade chocolate

“Thank you, warrior!”, “Thank you, titan!”, “To the unbreakable – thank you!” Carefully decorated handmade chocolate treats are being sent to the front lines. And they are made by none other than 15-year-old Anton, a schoolboy from the small town of Kulykivka in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine!

Anton has been involved in the “sweet business” since he was 10 – baking cakes and cookies himself, and with the onset of the full-scale Russian invasion, he began making original handmade chocolate, donating a portion of the proceeds to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces!

“I can only imagine how bitter your experiences are, so I want to sweeten your life, even if just for a moment!

Already during the full-scale invasion (when the Chernihiv region became de-occupied), I started making chocolate, so I want to treat you to these handmade delicacies. Thank you, Ukrainian Armed Forces, for defending my Chernihiv region! For my home and my living relatives. For the opportunity to engage in my favorite activity… Thank you and take care of yourselves!”

Anton Salo, a 10th-grade student at the Kulykivka Lyceum in the Chernihiv region.

The boy’s letter, sent along with the sweet treats to our soldiers, is truly heartwarming! We talk with the young chef about his support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and his chocolate secrets.

Handmade chocolate

Handmade chocolate: everything will be just sweet!

Anton is 15, and for over five years now, cooking has been his hobby.

“I’m in the 10th grade, I’ve finished music school in guitar, and I’ve been practicing hand-to-hand combat for six years. But the kitchen and everything associated with it is one of my favorite activities.

Since childhood, I’ve loved watching my mom or dad cook at home. I also wanted to share this emotion, this taste with my dearest people. I liked making sweets – at first, I just helped my mom, and then I embarked on my “solo voyage.”

By the age of 10, or even earlier, Anton was already baking various sweets, cookies, cakes… Everything was successful, and he really enjoyed this sweet endeavor. He himself is quite the sweet tooth, so he was captivated by both the process and the result!

Anton’s family supports and inspires him in his love for cooking! Half of the kitchen at home is occupied by his chocolate molds and various culinary “gizmos”, and sometimes he suspects that his mom isn’t always thrilled about this, but she always bravely endures and gives Anton the opportunity to create! Mom, dad, two older sisters – they are his first tasters and culinary critics.

“I even have my own area of responsibility in the kitchen: yes, for the last two or three years, I’m the one who bakes and decorates the Easter bread in our family. And in general – at home, whatever is asked – I cook. Well, I love this business!

And then there was chocolate, lots of chocolate…

And a desire not just to cook, but to create, to make something incredible, something that not only melts in your mouth and brings pleasure, but explodes with a fireworks of bright flavors!”

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Anton started tempering chocolate (this is the process of creating not just taste, but beauty from it!) about a year ago. He wanted to try his hand at making artisan sweets, and besides, handmade chocolate is always interesting and tasty! Chocolate is a work of art! And if it’s handmade chocolate made exclusively from natural ingredients – it’s a taste sensation. Working with chocolate is actually not easy – it requires both speed, as it sets quickly, and at the same time calmness and a “steady hand”…

Sweets in the shape of the Ukrainian coat of arms, original and exquisite chocolate bouquets, candies of various shapes and fillings, chocolate cocoa bombs – at first, it’s hard to believe that all this beauty is edible, so masterfully are all the products made!

“The technically most challenging part of my “chocolate arsenal” is the chocolate bouquet. It’s a very delicate and intricate work, and it takes a lot of time. But such a chocolate bouquet can ‘melt’ anyone’s heart! It took a lot of time and even more chocolate to make the flower buds perfect – just as I wanted to see them. But everything that didn’t work out was eaten with appetite! So, I didn’t make a tragedy out of the fact that not everything was perfect from the first take, as there was always something to “sweeten” the failure.

No matter how you look at it, making candies at home is a pleasant activity in every sense. I looked for recipes on YouTube, tried, practiced, and then everything went smoothly. Well, more precisely, like cocoa butter))”

Handmade chocolate

"The sweet cause" – supporting the Ukrainian Armed Forces!

After mastering the technical basics, Anton realized that he enjoyed creating and experimenting with recipes and flavors on his own. When he decided to sell his products, he immediately resolved that a portion of the profits would be donated to the Ukrainian Armed Forces – he wanted to help our guys, not just sit idly by.

Handmade chocolate

“I’ve participated in many charity fairs with my products, and the proceeds were donated to the military’s needs. I also conducted chocolate-making workshops for kids – to spark their interest in the “magic” of creating candies and handmade chocolate.

The kids get great pleasure from such work, and it also helps our defenders. The money earned contributed to the collections of our Kulykivka charitable foundation “Siveryany”, which assists the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers – together, we managed to purchase professional glasses for drone operators.”

Last spring, in the first month of the full-scale Russian invasion, Anton’s village was on the brink of occupation – but, fortunately, our military protected us and drove the enemy away. All the locals saw what our defenders saved them from, and even billions of ‘thank yous’ are not enough to express the depth of our gratitude and admiration!

From the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion, Anton went daily to the local volunteer center to weave camouflage nets – he would rush home only for a quick snack and then get back to work. Now he understands that he can also help with his sweet hobby.

Handmade chocolate

Chocolate-covered pork fat – why not!

Anton doesn’t plan to stop at traditional candies. He says he wants to change the stable world of sweets:

“I want to experiment with new, original flavors – this includes craft cheese candies, and – why not – chocolate-covered pork fat! I’ll create a treat with a Ukrainian spirit and play on my surname, Salo. I really want to be creative and develop. Most importantly – I want to inspire people to taste unusual candies and handmade chocolate. Currently, there are so many creative ideas that I would like to bring to life: to make many interesting new sets, both patriotic and festive-themed.”

Handmade chocolate candies stand out for their originality in shape, filling, and flavor. For his products, Anton uses cocoa butter and five types of quality Belgian chocolate: milk, white, dark, extra dark, and even sugar-free chocolate! He adds nuts – almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts, freeze-dried fruits – raspberry, mango, pineapple, blueberry, cherry. He orders all the ingredients for his chocolate treats online, and at the “Nova Poshta” (a Ukrainian postal service), everyone knows and recognizes him: “Oh, you’re going to make something tasty again!”

Anton’s sweets have been enjoyed abroad – they have been purchased and sent to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and the feedback has been excellent!

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Handmade chocolate is ordered in the Kulykivka community, throughout the Chernihiv region, Ukraine, and beyond. And the boy’s plan is to improve his skills and continue helping the Ukrainian army.

“With chocolate, everything is simple. People taste it, and you immediately understand if they like it. You see satisfied smiles on their faces and get inspired to get back to work… And if this way you can also help and sweeten the life of our military a bit – that’s doubly inspiring and motivating!”