WASHINGTON — Korean characters known as hangul, Arabic abjad from right to left, German, British, Austrian, American and other websites, and endless Instagram and Facebook pages connected with nearly five dozen countries worldwide advertise Marlenka, the Czech-made Armenian honey cake.
When in 2003, in a small town of the Czech Republic, Armenian Gevorg Avetisyan launched a honey cake business with one single oven in nearly 200 square feet of working space, it would be impossible to imagine such a success. Now Marlenka bakes over 4.5 million cakes every year in addition to nuggets, rolls, snacks, and a wide variety of different pastries. Avetisyan became known as the creator of one of the most recognized (if not the most recognized) brands of the modern Czech Republic. If you think it’s beer, I can point to other countries that produce wonderful beers, but there is no second Marlenka anywhere.
“I have been recognized nearly ten times as the businessman of the year of our region and/or of the entire Czech Republic. Marlenka is officially named the superbrand of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, where it has become trendy, said Gevorg at the beginning part of our Zoom conversation. He expects Marlenka to be recognized as the superbrand of Austria in 2022. “Any store or a coffee shop of Austria nowadays serves Marlenka,” added Avetisyan.
Meeting the Czech Republic president has almost become routine for our compatriot: The Czech Republic’s president and the first lady visited the Marlenka headquarters on more than one occasion. Avetisyan will see the leader of his new homeland the next time on March 7: Miloš Zeman, the president, will award Avetisyan with the highest award of the countryt: the Order of the White Lion.
“There are very few non-Czechs who received this award. One of them was Winston Churchill, who got it posthumously in 2014,” explained Avetisyan, adding: “This is an exceptional honor.”