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|Died||1954 (aged 77–78)|
New York City, United States
|Known for||Founder, Leonidas (chocolate maker), philanthropist|
|Spouse(s)||Jeanne Emelia Teerlinck (1912-1954)|
Leonidas Kestekides (1876 - 1954) was a Greek chocolate manufacturer, founder of the internationally famous Leonidas company in Belgium. The company's primary focus is pralines (chocolate shells with soft fillings), but they also sell marzipan, solid chocolates, and other confectionery.
Leonidas Kestekides was born to Cappadocian Greek parents in Nigde, Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey) in 1876. Accounts of his early years vary, but it appears that he left Constantinople (now Istanbul), lived in Greece for a while and then went to Italy, where he became a wine merchant. He struggled financially, so he decided to move to New York City, where he lived from 1893-98 and worked as a confectioner. He lived in Paris from 1898-1908.
In 1910, he travelled to Belgium to attend the 1910 World Fair in Brussels, where he was awarded the bronze medal for his chocolate confectionery. He returned to Belgium in 1913, attended the World Fair in Ghent, and moved permanently to Belgium, having met a young woman from Brussels during his visit. He opened tea-rooms in Brussels, Ghent and Blankenberge, and the business expanded from there.
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Leonidas-Kestekidès (°1882 Nikede, met Griekse nationaliteit…(Translated: Leonidas Kestekides (° 1882 Nigde of Greek nationality
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