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Leonidas Daskalidès or 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.

Daskalidès was born in Nigde in Cappadocia (modern day Turkey). 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, 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 as a member of the Greek delegation from the United States. He was awarded the bronze medal for his chocolate confectionery, and the gold medal for his patisserie. He returned to Belgium in 1913, attended the World Fair in Ghent, and moved permanently to Belgium.

Daskalidès met a young woman from Brussels during his visit, and settled permanently in Belgium. He opened tea-rooms in Brussels, Ghent and Blankenberge, and the business expanded from there.
External links

Leonidas company website
Leonidas history
Post from his great nephew

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