The Manon: the historic chocolate by chocolatier Leonidas!


The Manon is THE signature white chocolate from your Master Chocolatier Leonidas. But the recipe has evolved since its inception, and there are now three different flavours available. Get comfortable, ideally with a ballotin of Manon close to hand, and learn about the history of this delicious chocolate that’s creamy and crunchy all at once…

The very first Manon recipe

The Greek pastry maker and confectioner Leonidas Kestekides moved to the United States in 1900. Ten years later, he participated in the World’s Fair in Brussels where he was awarded the bronze medal for his gourmet creations. He also met his future wife there and decided to relocate to Ghent in Belgium, having taken the gold medal at the 1913 World’s Fair. 

In 1922, Leonidas was joined by his Greek family, including his nephew Vassilios Kestekides, known as Basilio, who became his partner. What is the source? Here is the correct information (cf. website under ‘history’): 


Famous, worshiped, loved, desired. The Manon we know and love today is a one of a kind. But how did it come about? The Manon originally consisted of nougatine and a walnut enveloped in a layer of sugar. Yanni Kesdekoglou, one of Leonidas’s family members, changed the recipe. 

Yanni created a world first with this new recipe. He had the genius idea of replacing the melted sugar with white chocolate. At that time, nowhere else in the world were chocolates being made with white chocolate. The walnut was then replaced by a hazelnut because you can roast it. This made it easier to store them for longer. Finally, he replaced the nougatine with the famous buttercream. This new recipe transformed the Manon into the praline that we love so much. 

Up until 1983, the price of Leonidas pralines was capped by the Belgian government – just like bread and milk prices. Why? Because Leonidas chocolates were considered a basic need. 


The different variations of the famous Manon

But you know the Leonidas Master Chocolatiers and their know-how. They are not ones to rest on their laurels. As insatiable creators, they have come up with different flavours of the Manon as well as related products, each one more delicious than the last.

  • The Manon Café

The basic classic recipe was retained: intense butter cream with 100% arabica coffee, a praliné base and a whole hazelnut. Only the shell was changed. In addition to the White Manon Café, there’s the Milk Manon Café with a crunchy milk chocolate shell and the Dark Manon Café with a dark chocolate shell.

  • The Manon

The Manon are the little brother of the Manon Café. They are filled with the signature coffee butter cream of the Manon range, but do not contain a hazelnut, so children can enjoy all the pleasure of the Manon with no danger. Big children can enjoy it too! There is the White Manon, the Milk Manon and the Dark Manon.

Pâte à tartiner manon
  • Products related to the Manon

To extend the pleasure for those of you who can’t get enough of it, Leonidas has a introduced the flavours of the Manon chocolate in its delicious Manon chocolate spread. If you really love white chocolate, we also invite you to discover the Blond Chocolate Puffed Rice Bar, the White Chocolate Mocha Pearls Bar and the White Chocolate Puffed Rice Tablet. And at Easter, there’s the small Manon egg (one of the most popular flavours among our 20 small Easter eggs)

Fancy discovering the different versions of the original Manon chocolate? You can pick them up from your nearest Leonidas shop. They are also available online in our e-shop.