The company"s primary focus is pralines (chocolate shells with soft fillings), but they also sell marzipan, solid chocolates, and other confectionery. Leonidas Kestekides was born to Cappadocian Greek parents in Nigde, Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey) in 1876. 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 1893-1898 and worked as a confectioner.
He lived in Paris from 1898-1908. He returned to Belgium in 1913, attended the World Fair in Ghent, and moved permanently to Belgium, having met a young woman from Brussels during his visit.
He opened tea-rooms in Brussels, Ghent and Blankenberge, and the business expanded from there.