This line of chocolates began with an international love affair. After debuting his winning pralines at the World Fair in Brussels in 1910, Greek-Cypriot confectioner Leonidas Kestekides fell in love with a local Belgian girl and opened a tea room in Ghent. After his pralines again won gold at the Ghent World Fair in 1913, Leonidas began expanding his operations, opening tea houses in Brussels and Blankenberge, while his nephew, Basilio, pioneered the storefront "guillotine window."
Today, Leonidas sells chocolates at more than 1,500 storefronts worldwide, but the prolific brand's humble beginnings are never too far away — "democracy in chocolate" is their motto, meaning that the good stuff isn't only reserved for the rich. Purists will appreciate his Tablette Noir bar, which features 70 percent cocoa.