Monday, June 18, 2007

Greek American Belgian Bonbons

I was excited to try Leonidas Belgian chocolates on Madison Avenue. A trusted source told me they were the best. They're good, but… Teuscher and Neuhaus still have them beat.

The selection is great: butter cream, ganache, praliné and caramel centers come enrobed in white, dark and milk chocolate. There are truffles (pistachio, cocoa, champagne), marzipan, and chocolate-covered orange and lemon peels.

Ultimately, though, Leonidas chocolates don't have the same je ne sais quoi quality of their Belgian and Swiss counterparts. The shells are harder (maybe more tempered?), and I like my bonbons soft and creamier. They should melt in your mouth and smack of freshness. The flavors should meld together yet explode in your mouth. These flavors are good, very good, but not sublime.

And what's up with the weird Greek name on Belgian chocolates? Leonidas Kestekides was a Greek-American confectioner who found is way to Brussels in 1913. There, he met success as a chocolate-maker and he met his wife. The brand made its way to New York in 1991.

Check out a nice explanation of the traditional chocolate-making process on Leonidas' corporate site:

485 Madison Avenue between 51st and 52nd

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