Leonidas Kestekides

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Leonidas Kestekides
Leonidas Kestekides.jpg
Leonidas Kestekides

1876 (1876)
Died1954 (aged 77–78)
New York City, United States
NationalityGreek American
Known forFounder, 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.[1][2] The company's primary focus is pralines (chocolate shells with soft fillings), but they also sell marzipan, solid chocolates, and other confectionery.

Early life[edit]

Leonidas Kestekides was born to Cappadocian Greek parents in Nigde, Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey) in 1876.[3] 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.[4] 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.[1][5][6] He opened tea-rooms in Brussels, Ghent and Blankenberge, and the business expanded from there.


  1. ^ a b Monahan, Rob; Neill Alleva (31 August 2010). The Ultimate Guide to Finding Chocolate in NYC (Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Edition). Professor Chocolate. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-9844580-0-4. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  2. ^ Van Osta, Ward. Met naam en toenaam. Voornamen, familienamen en bekende merknamen (in German). Maklu. p. 109. ISBN 978-90-441-2931-1. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  3. ^ Werkgroep Coupure, Werkgroep Coupure (2009). De Coupure in Gent. Scheiding en verbinding. Academia Press. p. 304. ISBN 9789038213231. Leonidas-Kestekidès (°1882 Nikede, met Griekse nationaliteit…(Translated: Leonidas Kestekides (° 1882 Nigde of Greek nationality
  4. ^ Hubo, Bettina (26 May 2006). "Als Grieken pralines maken: de roots van Leonidas". Brussels Deze Week. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "About Us > Our History". Leonidas. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "Sprehod po bruseljskih čokoladnicah 1. del". siol.net. October 2, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2012.

External links[edit]