Leonidas chocolates are crafted using only the very finest fresh ingredients. Real Belgian chocolate, vanilla from Madagascar, oranges from Valencia and almonds from California… blended by our Maître Chocolatier with over 100 years of Leonidas family knowhow. Today, Leonidas still believe in that same generosity of spirit that came from our beginnings in Belgium. Every day it's what makes our pralines luxuries to enjoy, share and celebrate.
Born in Anatolia, Leonidas Kestekides represented Greece at the Brussels World Exhibition 1910, winning the bronze medal for his artisanal confectionery and… falling in love. Leonidas returned to Belgium two years later to marry his sweetheart Joanna.
1913 saw Leonidas win gold at The International Exhibition in Ghent. By 1924 Leonidas and his nephew Basilio had opened Pâtisserie Centrale Leonidas in Brussels. Their mission? To make fresh Belgian chocolates an affordable luxury for people to enjoy every day.
By 1929 Leonidas and Basilio were selling their fresh Belgian chocolates in the fashionable Brussels neighbourhoods. By 1935 they had rented a shop at 58 Boulevard Anspach. Their shop was small with no street door so they sold the chocolates from the sash window, which let bypassers see the Maitre Chocolatier at work. The window became a feature of Leonidas shops signifying freshness and quality.
Basilio registered Leonidas’ namesake - the Spartan warrior - as a trademark and took the helm as Maître Chocolatier. This heralded a period of expansion when shopfronts across Belgium were transformed to include the signature sash window, drawing crowds to see the family at work.
The family continued the growth of Leonidas, taking their fresh Belgian chocolates into Europe and further expanding into America and Asia. Since then, Leonidas chocolates have only been made at the factory in Anderlecht, which remains Leonidas Headquarters today. The fresh pralines are then transported at controlled temperatures to ensure they arrive in perfect condition.
In 2013 we celebrated our centenary by being included on His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium's list of official suppliers. We now have more than 1,250 Leonidas chocolate shops and cafés in over 50 countries and the story continues with the fifth generation of the Leonidas family... as passionate about making the finest Belgian chocolates now, as Leonidas and Basilio were then.