Unique boutique offers chocolates and more with a Renaissance flair

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Anna (left) and Olga Moiisseyeva toast each other with teacups that are sold in Libarius; on the wall behind them is AI art of animals in Renaissance garb created by Anna. Barbara Sherman/Tigard Life
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Now Tigard residents (and candy lovers everywhere) can experience for themselves what it is like to be on a Hallmark movie set, because a new downtown store is like the set of one of the network’s classic movies about a chocolatier falling in love.

In this case, the chocolatier is the happily married Olga Moisseyeva, who opened Libarius on the most romantic day of the year – Valentine’s Day – and like the movie, she creates delicious candies and also sells specialty jams and other gift items. From the whimsical artwork and decorations to the colorful reflections of light on a sunny day from the sun-catchers hanging in the window, the store has a Renaissance vibe.

Using a commercial kitchen, Olga makes such delicacies as jasmine-cherry truffles, lavender truffles, masala chai, paté de fruit with raspberries and passion fruit, coconut truffles, almond-chocolate-pecan- and-cherry truffles, dark-chocolate-covered jellies, dark-chocolate truffles, matcha (Japanese green tea) candy, and tropical mix truffles with mango, passion fruit and lemon, to name some.

Olga’s life story is worthy of another Hallmark movie. She and her husband Ivan moved to Oregon four years ago with their two young daughters from Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. The family first moved to Beaverton and then settled in Lake Oswego.

“My kids couldn’t eat the local sweets because they thought they tasted too sweet,” Olga said. “I have always cooked, and I started to make sweets at home. I had friends and neighbors over to sample my desserts, and they liked this new taste, so I decided to make it into a business.”

With the daughters – Anna, now 15 and a sophomore at Lake Oswego High School, and Assya, 7 – in school, the time was right for Olga to start her own business, but she discovered that retail space in Lake Oswego is very expensive.

Luckily, she found downtown Tigard, noting, “It took 12 months to find the right place. At first, I wasn’t sure because of the (Main Street) construction, but when I saw this space, I knew it was perfect. It had been a computer shop, but the vaulted ceiling reminded me of the Renaissance period in history, and that became the theme for the business.”

On her phone is a series of photos that graphically show the transformation of the shop from a hollowed-out space to finished walls painted a dramatic black and white and filled with display cases.

“My husband helped me a lot,” Olga said. “We did everything with our hands in the evenings and weekends until 11 p.m. for six weeks.”

Anna explained that Libarius in Latin means a chef or dessert-maker in the Roman Empire. “We chose it because we want to treat our customers like royalty,” she said. And the store’s slogan, under a cupid with a bow and arrow, is “Amor Vincit Omnia,” which is Latin for “Love Conquers All.”

Using AI, Anna created artwork featuring animals that Olga requested interacting with chocolate and tea to decorate the back wall. Adorned in Renaissance crimped white collars are crows drinking tea, dogs eating jam, owls celebrating a birthday and other whimsical scenes in gold frames.

The store also sells chocolates from Austria that Olga uses at home. “I trust this brand and its history of quality,” she said. And Olga sells jams from a small New York company that blends teas and fruit flavors into hand-crafted jams with 50 percent less sugar; tea cups; curated gift boxes with different themes; and note cards featuring watercolor art from a local artist.

Despite being in the business of selling candy, Olga is passionate about eating healthy, and her concoctions are made from all-natural ingredients, which gives them a shelf life of three weeks. “Regular candy is filled with preservatives and made with palm oil and other ingredients that are bad for you,” she said. “Diabetes is growing. We need to teach our kids to eat healthy.”

Olga added, “The Tigard Downtown Alliance has helped us a lot. I am so grateful. And there is no competition between business owners. They want to help each other. I have never felt this before. It is a great place to have a business.”

Libarius, located at 12289 S.W. Main Street, is located around the corner from Modern Vital Aesthetics and Ultra Botanicals Boutique. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed Mondays. For more information, please call 971-393-5252.

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