In 1857, Jean Neuhaus opened a pharmacy in Brussels’ prestigious Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. To make his medicines taste nicer, he coated them in a thin layer of chocolate. From this simple idea, his grandson, Jean Neuhaus Jr. inherited his father’s passion for chocolate but also came up with the ingenious idea of replacing the medicine with a delicious soft filling. So, in 1912, the praline was born.
In addition to this, in 1915 Louise Agostini, wife of Jean Neuhaus Jr, created the first ‘ballotin’, a decorative box secured with a ribbon in which the chocolates were sold – helping to establish Belgian pralines as an indulgent luxury.
In the next few years, the praline boomed in Belgium as chocolatier Charles Callebaut learned in 1925 how to transport liquid chocolate. Ten years later, Basile Kestekidès (family of the founder of Leonidas), created the legendary Manon: a large praline based on coffee-flavoured butter cream enrobed in white chocolate. This delicious treat is still a hit today!