Santa's sweet tooth

  • 1998-12-17
  • Anastasia Styopina
RIGA - When Santa comes to Latvia, he likes to give out candy - lots of it.

So two of Latvia's biggest confectioneries, Laima and Staburadze, need to be on their toes to produce enough chocolate goodies and gingerbread cookies to keep the big man happy and ensure a sweet holiday for the kids.

For Staburadze employees, that means additional weekend shifts to meet the growing demand for Christmas treats, said Maija Lejina, manager of the company's marketing department.

Customers are lining up for Staburadze's famous cakes and differently shaped gingerbread cookies. To add Christmas flavor to traditional cakes, with whipped cream and chocolate, the company started setting ginberbread figures amid layers of chocolate and puffs of whipped cream.

Lejina said a traditional Christmas fruitcake covered with thick chocolate tops most customers' shopping lists, but many also like waffle cakes in special seasonally-designed packages.

As Christmas is approaching, customers will visit Staburadze stores in droves, but Lejina couldn't estimate how the company's sales would increase during the holidays.

At Latvia's famous Laima confectionery, daughter company of Ave Lat Grupa, sales in December usually jump 40 to 50 percent, said spokeswoman Rita Voronkova.

Laima started selling chocolate bars adorned with laughing Santas at the beginning of December, and Christmas goodies will stay on store shelves as long as there is a demand for them, Voronkova said.

Watching people leaving Laima stores with shopping bags stuffed to the brim, one has no trouble believing Voronkova's sunny holiday sales description.

Voronkova said the most popular products are presents in paper boxes shaped as a dwarf's house or a Christmas tree and filled with the company's assorted chocolates and candies.

"People buy these presents a lot," Voronkova said. "Some buy them for their kids, but many buy for Christmas parties at schools and kindergartens."