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Home / It's Viral / Christmas during Covid-19: Chocolate Santas don marzipan masks in Hungary

Christmas during Covid-19: Chocolate Santas don marzipan masks in Hungary

Confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi paints the hat red, and makes the masks from tiny white marzipan strips, adding the ribbons with icing.

it-s-viral Updated: Nov 21, 2020, 22:26 IST
Reuters | Posted by: Sanya Budhiraja
Reuters | Posted by: Sanya Budhiraja
Lajosmizse, Hungary
Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.(REUTERS)

When confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi decided to put masks on his chocolate Santas in his small workshop in rural Hungary, he intended it as a light-hearted joke to raise people’s spirits amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

But it turned out to be shrewd business move as orders surged online, and now he can hardly keep pace with demand.

Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

“I think by the time Santa comes he will have to wear a mask because Santa has to show a good example to people,” Rimoczi said, sitting in his workshop in the backyard of his village home in Lajosmizse, about 70 kilometres south of Budapest.

Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi works on a chocolate Santa at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi works on a chocolate Santa at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

To keep up with orders, he has had to simplify the design and now produces about 100 Santas a day, using gluten-free Italian chocolate. He paints the hat red, and makes the masks from tiny white marzipan strips, adding the ribbons with icing.

Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi poses with chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi poses with chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

Rimoczi has even had to change the design of his bigger chocolate Santas, which originally came without masks.

“They were wrapped, but we had to unwrap them and give them masks as our customers now only want masked Santas,” he said.

Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi works on a chocolate Santa at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi works on a chocolate Santa at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

His girlfriend helps with the wrapping.

Rimoczi’s business - he also makes other chocolate treats and sells them in a small shop in his house - suffered losses as the pandemic hit in March.

Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi works on a chocolate Santa at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi works on a chocolate Santa at his workshop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

While the masked Santas have been a boost, he doesn’t expect it to last if vaccines help the world defeat the pandemic.

Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary.
Chocolate Santas wearing protective face masks are seen in the workshop of the Hungarian confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lajosmizse, Hungary. ( REUTERS )

“I am sure next year I will sell only a fraction of these, as Santas will no longer have to wear a mask,” he said with a smile.

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