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Leonidas Pralines: Pure Belgian Indulgence
Reviewed by : Kareena Ally.. Other Foodadvisor Writers?
Looking for some mouth-watering chocolates to surprise a special someone or to pamper yourself? Then, look no further than Leonidas chocolates. One of the few premium chocolatiers that has made its way to Singapore shores, Leonidas, which originated from Belgium, has a total of 1400 outlets worldwide, two of which are in Singapore. From its eye-catching bright yellow international motif to its Greek King of Sparta emblem, this premium chocolatier exudes a quiet elegance. Walk in to its Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade outlet or stop by bustling Suntec City and you will be pleasantly surprised by a dazzling array of more than eighty scrumptious varieties to choose from, all beautifully displayed in glass counters. So sinfully tempting that mere looking might not suffice!

  • History
    In 1910, Greek-born Leonidas Kestekides travelled to Brussels from New York to showcase his confectionary goods. He met with success, winning bronze and gold medals for his chocolates and patisseries. Three years later, he decided to settle permanently in Belgium with a beautiful lady from Brussels and there began a legacy of fine chocolates, which continued till today.

    The emblem of the King of Sparta came about 1935. The founder's nephew, Basile Kestekides, who carried the torch, incorporated the Leonidas Manon and started selling his chocolates displayed at his shop's window. It was an immediate success and Leonidas had not looked back since. It has been the Leonidas founder's dream to make Belgian chocolates available to everyone without lowering standards.

  • Leonidas Chocolate Collection
    At Leonidas, savouring gourmet chocolates is an unforgettable treat. Sue, at the Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade branch explains that fine chocolates have to be savoured bit and bit. Enjoying chocolates is an art and it involves every one of your senses from sight to sound to hearing to taste and smell. With a perfectly made chocolate in hand, take a bite on the couverture or external coating of the chocolate. The glossy, semi-hard ‘shell' should snap when bitten. Then, allow it to melt in your mouth so that you can feel the texture. A secondary bite would release the aromas in the fillings, so inhale and be mesmerized. To fulfill the promise of heaven in your mouth, push the chocolate gently against the roof of you mouth and allow the flavour to linger in your palate. Most importantly, fine chocolates should not be gulped down.

    Each chocolate at Leonidas comes with a character of its own. Choose from a vast assortment of pralines such as Gananche, Liqueur, Leonidas Cream, Caramel or Marzipan. Praline is the Belgian equivalent of the English term “chocolate” while praliné refers to chocolates with delicious fillings. Whether you are milk, white or dark chocolate lover, there is definitely one that is just right for you!

    If you are someone who absolutely loves fuss-free plain chocolate, then the Napolitain selection is the one for you with Napolitain Nibs and the Napolitain Feuilletine coming out tops. For those who are more health conscious and want to benefit from flavanols that are only present in dark chocolates, pick Napolitain 72%, with the highest cocoa content. Anticipation on these chocolates heightens as one unwraps the glossy and colour-coded coverings to reveal a perfect square carefully embossed with Leonidas emblem. It is almost sinful to eat such a beautifully decorated chocolate and even more sinful when the chocolate simply melts in your mouth and leaves you craving for more.

    If your tastebud runs to the sweeter varieties, then opt for Manon Café with its scrumptious and crunchy hazelnut filling. Or savour the Noisette Masquee, a praliné with a whole hazelnut. A bestseller at Leonidas, it is highly recommended with its delightful taste, which will not leave any form of stickiness on your palate but indeed make you want more! Otherwise, opt for Casaleo, a praliné with crisped rice coated in chocolate. This winner, which was formerly known as Casanova, is dangerously addictive and tantalizingly smooth. A personal favourite is the Antoinette, a ganache with vanilla, which comes as a duo of either milk or pure chocolate. Heavenly is the only word that comes to mind when savouring this piece, followed by “More!”

    The Fruit Paste at Leonidas is unique. Each flavour contains an extract of the real fruit and it is simply one not to be missed. Let your senses run astray, take your chance and try out the cherry and strawberry flavours and it may just be the start of an addiction to come. If you like chewy and tangy chocolates, try the Candied fruit – the Orangettes or Citronettes or pick the Tranche D'Orange Trempée, orange dipped in dark chocolate.

    For a quick snack, take home their bar chocolates, extremely handy especially if you are on the run and having a chocolate craving! Not forgetting the diabetic, there is a good variety of chocolates containing sorbitol and maltitol as sugar substitute. Interestingly, you can't even tell that it uses an alternative to sugar with the only drawback being that one can't consume too much of it.

The SD Advisor's take on Leonidas Pralines.
At $15 for a 100 grams of chocolates, the prices at Leonidas is comparatively cheaper and much more affordable compared to its other premium counterparts, most importantly, without quality being compromised. Notably, Leonidas in Singapore carries a limited selection of liqueur chocolates. Interestingly, while other premium chocolatiers in Singapore have immersed themselves into local customs by offering festive goodies, Leonidas has remained true to its European roots and has kept itself to mainly major European festivities like Valentines and Easter. The service at the Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade is impeccable and commendable with the sales personnel being very knowledgeable about her chocolates and serving with pride. As the taste of chocolates evolves to cater to its crowd, the chocolates at Leonidas has thankfully not acquired a very sweet tinge and is in my opinion, worth every single cent.

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