Since its establishment in 1913, Leonidas' mission has always been to create truly blissful moments by making the luxury of chocolate accessible to everyone.
Over 100 years ago, Leonidas Kestekides first started working on our praline as we know them today. For four generations the Kestekides family made its mark on Leonidas, making this brand a real family business. What started out life as a single shop with a sliding sash window, where pralines were displayed on the window sill, has evolved into an international brand experience.
Leonidas chocolates are crafted with the expertise of our Maître Chocolatier, using only the highest-quality ingredients including 100% pure cocoa butter and sustainably-sourced cocoa.
1900 - Leonidas Georges Kestekides travelled to the United States, in search of his American dream. Here he learned the tricks of the trade and became a confectioner.
1910 - Leonidas participated in the World Exhibition in Brussels and presented his confectionery and patisserie creations to around thirteen million visitors and was awarded the bronze medal designed by Godefroid Devreese.
1913 - Leonidas made another appearance at the World Exhibition in Ghent, and was awarded the gold medal and a commemorative certificate. This was the year that he also opened his first tearoom where guests were spoiled with patisseries, confectionery, sweets, and ice cream.
1922 - Leonidas taught his nephew Basilio Kestekides how to be a confectioner. The two complemented each other perfectly: one was a born salesman and the other was a creative spirit. Together, they created a range of delicious pralines.
1924 - While the Kestekides family took care of the shop in Ghent, Leonidas and Basilio opened a new tearoom in Brussels 'Pâtisserie Centrale Leonidas'.
1935 - Everything was running smoothly until Basilio got into trouble for street trading – the police told Basilio that he had to sell his products in a shop. Basilio rented a room in a building which was small and narrow and didn’t even have a door onto the main street. He displayed his delicious pralines on the window sill and sold them from the sliding sash window to passers-by – this later became the trademark of Leonidas.
1937 - Basilio came up with the brand and logo for his uncle. He gradually started to take over all the hard work and management of the company and registered the name Leonidas with the city of Brussels. He named it after his uncle and decided that the logo should be the Greek warrior Leonidas, in honour of his uncle.
1948 - On the 20th February disaster struck: Leonidas Kestekides passed away.
Leonidas left his shops to his nephew, who seemed more motivated than ever. Basilio wanted to make luxury products which everyone could afford. Leonidas never wanted to turn its pralines into a scarce product by raising the prices; instead, it increased production to keep the prices low.
1970 - On the 2nd April, Basilio passed away and he left Confiserie Leonidas to his brothers and sisters.
Jean Kesdekoglu-Kestekides took over and after a while his daughter Maria Kesdekoglu-Kestekides started to help out. From that moment, things really took off for Leonidas. The pralines were sold in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece and the United Kingdom.
Until 1983 the price of Leonidas pralines was capped by the Belgian government – just like bread and milk prices. This is because Leonidas chocolates were considered a basic need.
1985 - Maria Kesdekoglu-Kestekides took charge of the company following the death of her father. She was assisted by her brother Dimitrios Kestekoglou and her cousin Vassiliki Kestekides. The production of pralines continued to grow.
1986 - The first Leonidas store is opened in Ireland, located in Cork City.
2000 - Leonidas goes international and the pralines were also sold in the United States and Asia.
2013 - On the 15th November King Philippe of Belgium announced his list of certified purveyors to the royal household. Leonidas was awarded a place on this list for its exceptional quality and affordable prices. It’s a great honour, and recognition of the perseverance and hard work of everyone who has been part of the development of the Leonidas brand.
Daniel Stallaert and Souad El Maslouhi have only one thing on their mind: chocolate. In their workshop, these two artists are always in search of quality ingredients, contemporary flavours, and succulent combinations so as to create joyous chocolates for everyone.
Daniel Stallaert has been passionate about chocolate since childhood. At the age of 13 he started training at CERIA, a prestigious school for chocolatiers in Brussels. After successfully completing a five-year training course, he went on placement to Wittamer, a renowned company in the heart of Brussels. After working at Neuhaus and Corné Port-Royal, Daniel joined Leonidas where he continues to express his passion.
He is known as one of the best chocolate artists in the world. In February 2022, Daniel's expertise was recognized and consecrated by a diploma from the high authority of the Académie Culinaire de France, the ultimate recognition for any chef, or pastry chef.
Souad El Maslouhi’s discovered a passion for chocolate during a visit to the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. This ignited a fire to want to learn about the art of chocolate making, and she spent four years training and learning all about patisserie, and chocolate making.
After completing her training, Souad worked in Brussels with well-known master patissiers and master chocolatiers. This allowed her to focus completely on her passion.
In 2012, Souad joined Leonidas and to this day works with flavours to create astonishing chocolates and pralines.
100% pure cocoa butter
We use only the best ingredients to ensure every bite delivers a moment of pure delight, which is why our chocolates are made with 100% pure cocoa butter.
No palm oil
Our Maîtres Chocolatiers are obsessed with quality for their creations, so you won't find a single drop of palm oil in our chocolate. It's better for the taste and the planet.
Since 1 October 2021, we have been using certified cocoa to make our chocolate. Thanks to this certification, the living and working conditions of 2,450 cocoa growers and their families have been improved.
Our chocolates are 100% made in Belgium since 1913 using beloved traditional recipes and expert craftsmanship.