Quality chocolate and pralines
Best quality - sustainable
Leonidas chocolates are made in Belgium. The best chocolate creations made from the finest ingredients are the hallmark of Leonidas delicacies. The Maîtres Chocolatiers there uphold tradition and process the finest ingredients with love and respect. The pralines and other chocolate specialties still reflect the values of Basilio, the nephew of company founder Leonidas: freshness, quality, choice and affordability. It is precisely by sticking to these values that Leonidas has been able to win a place in the list of Belgian purveyors to the court time and again. A great honor and at the same time an incentive to stick to your own highest standards.
Best Belgian quality
The Leonidas chocolatiers are real gourmets. Every day they create new flavors to spoil connoisseurs with the tastiest chocolates. They process pure, authentic products of excellent quality and real Belgian chocolate. The production is still characterized by a lot of manual work and the greatest love for freshness and enjoyment. All Leonidas chocolates are packed and shipped fresh and not frozen, not even for a moment. Maximum freshness that melts in your mouth.
Belgian chocolate, you can taste that!
For the delicious fillings, Leonidas only uses fresh butter, cream and milk, lightly roasted hazelnuts from Turkey, Morello cherries from Périgord, almonds from Italy, oranges from Valencia and a few secret ingredients. No matter where in the world you taste Leonidas chocolates – Paris, London, Athens – you will taste Belgians’ favorite chocolate everywhere.
Belgian chocolate – the stronghold of pralines
The two countries Switzerland and Belgium, which are home to the most well-known praline manufacturers, are regarded as praline strongholds. In Switzerland e.g. Lindt, Suchard or Confiserie Sprüngli, in Belgium e.g. Leonidas, Neuhaus or Godiva as well as numerous small chocolatiers.
But what exactly distinguishes Belgian chocolate and Belgian pralines?
Belgian chocolate has a particularly fine structure. It is ground so finely that the structure is 15 to 18 microns.
The particularly high cocoa content, which is internationally at the top and makes the pralines so creamy and delicious.
Belgian chocolate contains 100% pure cocoa butter.
Competition stimulates business! The very broad chocolate sector in Belgium – from large companies to countless small chocolatiers and praline makers – means there is a huge choice. Creativity is also very important. Whether classic shapes and flavors or unusual, exotic shapes and flavors, nowhere else in the world will you find such a variety!
Since 2007, the “Belgian Chocolate Code” has determined and ensured that Belgian chocolate actually comes from Belgium.
Traditionally only the highest quality cocoa beans are used by Belgian chocolate and praline manufacturers.
The largest chocolate factory in the world is located in Belgium, namely in Wieze. Bally Callebaut processes around 270,000 tons of beans into chocolate there every year.
When it comes to creating moments of happiness for everyone, it goes without saying that we also think of everyone. Society, nature and future generations. Leonidas only uses sustainable cocoa for the production of its chocolates and pays attention to sustainable conditions in production and logistics. For us one of the reasons that we chose Leonidas pralines and chocolates. In addition, of course, there are the finest recipes that make Leonidas pralines the favorite chocolate of Belgians and chocolate connoisseurs worldwide.
In order to implement its sustainability concept, Leonidas also works with Cocoa Horizons and partners such as Rainforest Alliance to ensure that the well-being of cocoa farmers and the local environment are given top priority. In concrete terms, this means that Leonidas is helping to improve the working and living conditions of over 2,000 cocoa farming families by sourcing sustainable cocoa. Mainly in Africa, but also in other growing regions worldwide.
Without palm oil
The Leonidas maitre chocolatiers are known for their highest standards of quality without any compromises. They only use pure cocoa butter for their creations – and not even a drop of palm oil. Only the best – and that’s a good thing.
The origins of the praline: from the cocoa tree to chocolate
Whether in a sensual and invigorating hot drink on cold winter days, in a sweet chocolate bar that serves as a delicious snack between meals, as a delicious addition to milk or as an ingredient in a delicate bar of chocolate: hardly anyone can resist the tempting pleasure of cocoa . But where and how is cocoa actually obtained?
Cocoa is a luxury food and foodstuff obtained from the seeds of the cocoa tree – Theobroma cacao. This was originally native to the tropical rainforests of Central America and the tropical rainforests of northern South America. Since cocoa trees need a tropical climate, i.e. a lot of warmth and moisture, to be able to thrive, the cultivation area of cocoa is limited to regions around the equator, e.g. Equatorial Africa or Southeast Asia. Today, the majority of global cocoa production occurs in West Africa, where Ivory Coast (the world’s largest cocoa producer with over 1.3 million tonnes of cocoa beans) and Ghana are the main cocoa producing countries. Cocoa production in the regions of origin of the cocoa, i.e. Central and South America, nowadays takes place mainly in the countries of Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. Other producers include Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Dominican Republic. Interesting side facts: First traces of theobromine, a component of cocoa, were found on potsherds from 1100 BC. excavated in present-day Honduras. The Mayas used cocoa beans for rituals and as a means of payment, the Aztecs as a luxury (but mostly only for people from the upper class) and for trading. Spanish conquerors brought cocoa to Europe, where it has enjoyed great popularity since the 17th century.
Around the world, around 5.5 million small-scale cocoa farmers grow cocoa on small plots of 2 to 5 hectares. Cacao cultivation is very labour- and care-intensive. Since the cocoa tree flowers all year round and is susceptible to diseases and pests, it needs a lot of care and attention and its fruits, the pods, have to be harvested by hand more often throughout the year. The greenish, yellow or red-violet colored pods, which are 15 to 25 cm long and weigh up to ½ kg, contain only around 20 to 30 seeds: the cocoa beans that are used to produce cocoa. With the annual harvest of a cocoa tree, about half a kilo of cocoa can be produced. After the farmers have harvested the pods, they open them with a machete to reveal the pulp of the pod and scrape out the individual beans. After the harvest, there is a long journey of various processing steps: In order to remove the remaining pulp from the beans, they are stored in wooden boxes or between banana leaves for a few days. This is where the fermentation of the beans begins. They develop up to 50°C, causing the remaining pulp to evaporate. The beans germinate, develop cell sap and die. In this step, the cocoa-typical taste and the chocolate color of the beans develop, as the bitter substances contained in the beans are softened by the spread of the cell juice. The beans are then spread out on mats and placed in the sun for around two weeks, allowing them to dry. Finally, the farmers pack the dried cocoa beans in sacks and prepare them for shipment. Arriving at the intermediary, the beans are prepared by them for further processing steps: cocoa powder or chocolate is now made from cocoa. And depending on what the manufacturer wants to produce, the cocoa beans are roasted at different temperatures and for different durations. While chocolate requires temperatures of around 100 to 115°C, cocoa powder requires temperatures of up to 150°C. At high temperatures, the cocoa beans are only roasted for about 15 to 20 minutes, at low temperatures, roasting can take place for over an hour. The roasting finally creates the typical cocoa taste and removes more moisture from the bean, which makes peeling much easier. Once the beans have cooled down, they are broken up into small pieces in a crusher, while a gentle stream of air blows away the broken shell parts. The so-called broken cocoa nibs are then carefully checked and freed from impurities. Now the grinding process in cocoa mills can begin. During this process, cocoa butter escapes, which turns the bean pieces into liquid chocolate. With the addition of ingredients such as sugar or milk, the mass is stirred and then finely rolled. The rolling produces chocolate that is a few thousandths of a millimeter thick. Machines conch this product for up to 48 hours and repeatedly heat it up to 90°C in batches, which further refines the cocoa taste. In a final step, this mass is filled into molds and left to cool The end product: chocolate
From chocolate to praline
It is bite-sized, delicately chocolatey, infused with flavor-determining fillings such as ganache, nougat, nuts, liqueur (e.g. rum), marzipan, etc. or deliciously refined with fruit, a real feast for the eyes and is usually called the The pinnacle of chocolatier craftsmanship: the praline.
The German chef of César de Choiseul, Comte de Plessis-Praslin, a French marshal and minister under Louis XIV, is considered the inventor and namesake of the praline (borrowed from the French praline, i.e. “roasted almond”). The inventor of the praline named his confectionery made from almonds and sugar after his master. Nowadays, the basic requirement for the designation as a praline is a chocolate content of at least 25%. If this is not achieved, one speaks of confectionery. In addition, chocolates must be bite-sized in order to be declared as such
In general, you can say that there are two different methods of making pralines. In the original process, for example, nuts, almonds, pieces of marzipan or candied fruit were dipped in caramel syrup or chocolate mass. In 1857, Jean Neuhaus from Neuchâtel (Switzerland) settled in Brussels and opened a pharmacy, initially selling sweet-tasting liqueur sticks for stomach problems. Jean Neuhaus was finally persuaded by his son Frédéric to devote himself to confectionery. In 1912, his grandson Jean Neuhaus developed the hollow molding process, which is still practiced today. As the then owner of the Confiserie et Chocolaterie Neuhaus-Perrin in Brussels, he developed a process in which metal molds were poured with liquid chocolate, filled with chopped nuts, dried fruit, liqueur (e.g. rum), etc. and sealed with a chocolate disc. After cooling, the finished pralines could then be easily removed from the molds: the molded praline was invented. As technology progressed, machines were developed that could fill small chocolate bars using this process, which led to the industrialization of praline production. Today there is a juxtaposition of mechanical chocolate production and manual work. Small manufacturers in particular try to create particularly high-quality and delicious chocolates these days through manual work, high-quality ingredients and special fillings or fresh fruit.
Different pralines also differ significantly from one another and offer a huge range of design possibilities and almost endless possibilities for development, since every conceivable decoration and combination is possible. Roughly speaking, however, chocolate can be distinguished based on two essential criteria: namely the main component of the filling and the manufacturing process. The main ingredients are mostly marzipan, nougat, caramel, liqueurs or ganache (a mixture of cream and chocolate). With regard to the manufacturing process, a distinction can be made between different forms: truffles (filled hollow chocolates in a spherical shape), molded chocolates (depending on the occasion and the desired appearance, these are released from plastic or silicone molds), sliced chocolates (with the help of a metal frame, different layers are evenly applied on top of each other, after which they can cut as desired, e.g. into squares) or sprayed pralines (the praline is piped directly onto thin chocolate chips, for example, using a piping bag).
But no matter what flavor or shape the praline has, the unique and delicious pleasure is the same for all of them!
Ingredients and allergens of our Leonidas pralines and Ballotins
Eggs and eggnogs (Albumine)
Leonidas products do not contain eggs, except for the fruit jellies and the lemon and orange boats.
Gluten is a molecule found in grains like wheat, barley, oats and their derivatives like malt and starch. Some Leonidas products are made from ingredients that contain gluten or traces of gluten.
Many Leonidas products contain nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, …). All Leonidas products may contain traces of dried fruits.
Milk (lactose, milk proteins, …)
Dairy products are naturally essential ingredients in the preparation of many Leonidas products. The processes that guarantee the quality of Leonidas products require that the plants be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed between the production of different types of chocolate. Despite these good manufacturing practices, there is a possibility that traces of milk proteins may still be found in some dark chocolates. With modern analysis methods, however, extremely inconspicuous parts per million milk proteins can be detected. All packaging for Leonidas dark chocolate products has the following text at the end of the list of ingredients: “May contain traces of dairy products”.