Company Name: Chocolates By Maria
My Name: Maria Vlahos
My Patron Saint: Theotokos
What I make: Various chocolate dipped pretzels, twizzlers, graham crackers, marshmallows, marshmallows smores pops, various candies, fresh and dried fruit, Oreo truffles and much more. I make everything fresh to order. My products are all nut free and the chocolate is gluten free.
Where you can find me: I am currently on Facebook. My facebook page is Chocolates by Maria; https://www.facebook.com/ChocolatesByMaria my website is under construction but should be up soon.
How being Orthodox Impacts my work: Having God in the center of my life is extremely important. I work full time and also having Chocolates by Maria that I started in October 2012 as a part time job (that is turning quickly into full time) sometimes can be overwhelming. However, with God being in the center of my life He gives me the strength to do what I love to do- and there are a lot of things I love to do!! What I hope to continue doing is giving back to various organizations with a portion of my chocolate sales each month.
I am so blessed and honored that I am involved with my Philoptochos Chapter at Ascension of Our Lord for almost 10 years. I have seen what amazing work Philoptochos does, in our Metropolis of Chicago and also at the National level. I would like to know that with a portion of my monthly chocolate sales I can help by giving back too. My family is a recipient of the amazing love Philoptochos is all about. My father fell asleep in the Lord at the young age of 38. For a few years Philoptochos helped my mom and my siblings at that time. At that time I was 8 years old, and I didn’t realize what Philoptochos was, but I knew that some really nice ladies came and brought us something for Christmas(my dad died 2 weeks before Christmas). So with that, what I did know is that I wanted to make others happy too when I grew up. So fast forward the clock, I started Chocolates by Maria in October 2012. I pray that I am able to continue making delicious chocolate treats for many to enjoy and also for others to benefit from as well.
As a child my favorite children’s book was: Growing up, I had many books that enjoyed reading. However, the book that always seems to stand out was my choir book. I have been singing in the choir since I was 9 years old. Practices were on Friday evenings after I had Greek school. Even though I don’t read music notes , just reading the words of the beautiful Liturgical hymns we hear every Sunday are so meaningful to me. So the Divine Liturgy book and my choir book are really my favorite books!