Leonidas (chocolate maker)

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Confiserie Leonidas S.A.
TypeSociété anonyme (public limited)
IndustryConfectionery manufacturing
FounderLeonidas Kestekides
HeadquartersBoulevard Jules Graindor 41–43, ,
Number of locations
1,030 points of sale (2019)
Key people
P. de Selliers de Moranville (CEO)
  • IncreaseUS$107 million (2018)[1]
  • US$66 million (2009)[2]
US$6.08 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
347 (2018)[1]

Leonidas is a registered trademark of the agri-food company Confiserie Leonidas S.A. The Belgian chocolate company was founded in 1913 by Leonidas Kestekides. The company is ISO 9001 and FSSC 22000 certified. As of 2019, the brand has more than 1,030 points of sale in 32 countries, with approximately 450 stores in Belgium and Luxembourg, and 290 in France. The majority of these locations operate as franchises, while around 40 are subsidiaries.[citation needed]


Confiserie Leonidas S.A. was established in 1913 by Leonidas Kestekides, a Belgian chocolatier. The company has gained recognition for its high-quality chocolates, becoming renowned in Belgium and expanding internationally. It is headquartered in Anderlecht, Belgium.

Products and Certifications[edit]

Leonidas specializes in the manufacturing of confectionery, particularly Belgian chocolates. The company is known for its wide range of chocolate pralines, truffles, and other chocolate-based delicacies.

Confiserie Leonidas S.A. holds various certifications, including ISO 9001 and FSSC 22000, which emphasize the company's commitment to quality and food safety standards.

Locations and Distribution[edit]

As of 2019, Leonidas has established over 1,030 points of sale worldwide. This includes approximately 450 stores in Belgium and Luxembourg, and 290 stores in France. The brand's international presence extends to 32 countries, with a combination of franchised and subsidiary-operated locations.

Key People[edit]

The CEO of Confiserie Leonidas S.A. is P. de Selliers de Moranville, who plays a vital role in the company's management and strategic direction.


  1. ^ a b c "Company Search - Company Information - Hoovers Company Profiles - D&B Hoovers". D&B Hoovers. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  2. ^ Gelinas, U.; Dull, R. (2009). Accounting Information Systems. Cengage Learning. p. 510. ISBN 978-0-324-66380-8. Retrieved 2019-10-13.

External links[edit]


Born in 1882 in Nigdi, Anatolia, Turkey, a politically and economically unstable region, Leonidas Georges Kestekides, of Greek heritage, made a living by selling "granitas", a kind of sorbet, and other sweets with his brother, Avraam. In 1900, he decided to move to the United States where he became a confectioner.[citation needed]

In 1910, Leonidas participated at the World Fair in Brussels, Belgium, where he won the bronze medal alongside the Greek delegation. While in Brussels, he met Joanna Emelia Teerlinck. Together, they moved to Ghent, where the International Exhibition was held in 1913. There he won the gold medal and opened his first tearoom at 34 Veldstraat.[citation needed]

From 1922 onwards, members of Leonidas' family joined him in Belgium to work alongside him. Among them was his brother Dimitrios’ son, Vassilios Kestekides, who they later called Basilio, and whom Leonidas mentored. Leonidas was creative, and Basilio had a good head for business; together they came up with many ideas to expand the company's activities. The business was expanding to scales larger than Ghent. As such, Leonidas left to open the "Pâtisserie Centrale Leonidas" in Brussels, on rue Paul Delvaux, and left the management of the Ghent tearoom to the rest of his family. Basilio joined him.

Once in Brussels, things went well for Basilio. He worked hard; at night he made his chocolates in his small workshop near the capital's main square, on rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains. In the morning, he drove a horse-drawn cart among the surrounding neighbourhoods, selling his delicacies. In 1935, after being accused by the police of street trading, he was ordered to sell his products in a store. As a result, he rented a room in a building at 58 Boulevard Anspach. But given the small size of this room, which did not even have a door onto the main street, only one possibility remained: open the only window and display his chocolates on the windowsill. This was a revolutionary idea that allowed passers-by to enjoy the delicious scent of chocolate products and buy chocolates on the spot. Selling through a sliding sash window would remain the trademark of the brand for decades.[citation needed]

In 1937, he officially registered his brand with the City of Brussels. The brand's font and logo were chosen by Basilio Kestekides in honor of the Greek roots of his uncle. He used the effigy of the King of Sparta, Leonidas I, who died in the Battle of Thermopylae during his opposition to the Second Persian invasion of Greece. Leonidas died on 20 February 1948. More motivated than ever to 'make luxury accessible to all', Basilio decided to expand his workshop to produce more, and thus better meet growing consumer demand. Leonidas' philosophy has never been to turn its chocolates into a scarce product in order to sell them at higher prices, but rather to increase production to keep the prices low. The brand's signs alone were used to advertise the business up to the early 1980s. However, in 1985, Leonidas was forced to publish an advertisement in all national newspapers. Very curiously, rather than promoting its products, Leonidas sent a message that was a first in the history of advertising; it asked people who were interested in selling chocolates to stop sending requests to open a shop because production could not keep up with demand.[citation needed]

Leonidas' chocolates are made without palm oil.[citation needed]. They are made with Belgian chocolate and cocoa butter.

Leonidas' principal chocolate is the "Manon". It was Basilio, Leonidas’ nephew, who introduced the Manon to the Leonidas range. At the time, the Manon, filled with a butter cream on a crunchy nougatine base, was dipped in melted sugar using a fork. In his quest to create a diverse range of products, Basilio wanted to experiment with a white chocolate coating. A few years later, he placed the butter cream on a white chocolate praliné base instead of a nougatine base. Even as late as 1980, the Manon was still handmade: each and every walnut kernel was placed in the praline by hand. Faced with increasing demand for Leonidas products, Yanni, Basilio's brother, wanted to automate the production processes and operate under stricter hygiene rules. Since the walnut could not be roasted and the storage conditions for this dry fruit were tricky, he replaced it with the hazelnut, which could be roasted and kept better. Yanni put the finishing touches to his Manon and the recipe, which has remained unchanged since then. As the company grew, Basilio asked his second brother, Alexandre, to come and help him. Alexandre's scientific knowledge, especially of chemistry, allowed him to carry out research to develop a range of chocolates: this meant new flavors and new manufacturing processes. Alexandre built the company's first machine.

On 15 November 2013, the company became a certified purveyor to the Belgian royal household. The level of brand awareness was 91% in 2018.[citation needed]

Leonidas has been a family business ever since it was founded. Leonidas celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.[citation needed]


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