The history of chocolate, from the bean to Leonidas chocolates
The history of chocolate starts with the cacao tree. It grows in Central America, which was home to the Aztecs and Mayans. Archaeological studies show that they were cultivating this tree more than 3,000 years ago. Inside its fruits, known as pods, are the famous cocoa beans. These had two functions. They were used as currency, and as an ingredient to make a bitter, spiced drink known as xocoatl. It is this that gave chocolate its name.
It was the Spanish colonists who brought cocoa beans to Europe in the 16th century. In the meantime, some nuns had the good taste to add honey, cane sugar, musk and orange blossom to this strange drink to make it more palatable. Little by little, this chocolate drink spread to the various royal courts of Europe. In the 17th century, it conquered Versailles. Cocoa beans were still rare and expensive, however, and chocolate remained the preserve of a very small elite.
Then came the 19th century, with industrialisation and its machine tools. This made it easier to extract the cocoa butter from the beans to obtain cocoa powder. At the same time, the cacao tree was imported into Africa, where its cultivation developed in the colonies. Various chocolate makers set up in Italy, England, Switzerland and the Netherlands, each with its own specialities.
It was in 1913 that the Greek Leonidas Kestekides opened his first shop in Belgium. He was joined in 1922 by his nephew Basilio. Together, these pastry and confectionery makers, and above all creators at heart, produced delicious chocolates whose success endures to this day. Their secret? That Leonidas chocolates should be accessible to everyone!
The Leonidas Master Chocolatiers, or chocolate par excellence
For more than a century, the Leonidas Master Chocolatiers have been putting all their know-how into delicious chocolates that are ever more original. They elevate chocolate to a work of art. Each creation is a delight for the eyes. The Manon sports a deliciously silky coating. The Mystère is a deeply intense dark chocolate. The Perle Framboise is worthy of a jewel. The Finesse boasts a delicately chiselled decoration. Open a box of Leonidas chocolates and experience the very definition of bliss.
Leonidas chocolates: a pleasure to share, but above all to savour. Produced entirely in Belgium, our sweet chocolate treats are made from top quality ingredients. The chocolate is 100% pure cocoa butter, and is guaranteed to be free from palm oil. The cream, the butter and the milk have never been frozen.
Do you want to be part of the great history of chocolate? Then go for the best and discover our creations in your nearest nearest Leonidas shop. You can also order your chocolates online in our e-shop.