World Chocolate Day is an annual celebration occurring globally on July 7. Photo by Charisse Kenion via Unsplash
Whether you like it dark and bitter, or smooth and sweet, it’s worth taking a bite into one of life’s greatest indulgences – chocolate. July 7 is dedicated to World Chocolate Day as it was brought to Europe on that date in 1550 from South America. Chocolate lovers around the globe have the perfect excuse to relish sweet goodies on this day.
Greek chocolate brands have made a bold statement in the industry competing against some of the best in the world including Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We’ve rounded up our top picks for a journey of sweetness like no other.
ION has been synonymous with chocolate for more than 90 years, making its debut in Athens. Neo Faliro, Piraeus is where the magic began unfolding, opening the gateway to a sweet story backed with hard work and aspiration. ‘Till this day, the company maintains its headquarters in the same location where it all began in 1930.
1947 was a landmark year for the brand and for all ION lovers around the world as ION Amigdalou (Almond) was introduced. Its silky texture merged with chunky pieces of almond became the ideal combination, making it the brand’s most popular product worldwide. In 1956, the first ION store opened in downtown Athens, slowly gaining reputation by word-of-mouth. Gradually, the company began introducing new chocolates, candies, gums, wafers, and many other delicacies.
It was 1998 which marked ION’s entry in the global market, as the company expanded the business abroad, becoming a manufacturer of international status.
Today, ION keeps growing and developing as a 100% Greek enterprise, without losing the traditional values which define it. With three ultramodern production plants in Greece, 950 employees, and revenue of more than 110 million euros on an annual basis, ION is among the 60 largest industrial companies in Greece.
Lacta is a series of Greek chocolate products created in 1962 by the Pavlidis confectioner, founded in 1841 in Athens. In 1991, Pavlidis company was sold to Kraft Foods Inc., which was then renamed Mondelez International.
Besides the traditional milk chocolate bar, there are several different forms and flavors of Lacta, including Oreo, hazelnut, and strawberry yogurt. Lacta remains among the best-selling chocolate bars in Greece.
Today, Lacta lovers associate the brand with the famous TV spot which compared the sweet taste of the chocolate to that of falling in love. The 5-part web series had 2 million viewers in a country of 5 million Internet users. Lacta’s YouTube channel became number 1 in Greece, with the biggest number of views and the most subscribers in the country.
It’s magical taste however affected and increased the sales of the chocolate, growing them by 14% compared to the year before.
A real chocolate revolution began once Leonidas was introduced in the market. From Greece to Belgium, via the United States, the main theme of the company has always been passion, perseverance, and ingenuity.
Over 100 years ago, Leonidas Kestekides first started working on the Leonidas praline as we know it today. For four generations, the Kestekides family left its mark on Leonidas, making the brand a real family business. What started out as a single shop where pralines were displayed on the windowsill evolved into an international brand with more than 1300 shops worldwide.
A classic award-winning dark chocolate from Greece, known as Ygeias, meaning healthy, has been a popular treat for over 160 years, produced by the company Pavlides. In 1842, in the streets of Athens, the first pastry shop in Greece was opened, the well-known Pavlidou’s Confectionery by Spyridon Pavlides. The store offered traditional sweets, such as kataifi, baklava, delicacies in various flavors, sweets, and so-called confetti – as cocoa was yet to be popular in Greece.
In 1843, Pavlides wanted to develop the pastry shop and enrich it with new products. He began traveling to Europe and beyond, visiting Paris, Vienna, Rome, Amsterdam, and Madrid. Attending multiple exhibitions regarding new products and innovative machinery, he slowly entered the world of chocolate, and when he returned to Greece in 1852, he founded the Confectionery Workshop. He cut the cocoa with the coffee grinder he had imported from Poland and began serving chocolate at the pastry shop. In 1860, during Christmas, he traveled once more to Paris. From there he brought a handmade chocolate maker, with which he made the first tablet of ‘health chocolate’, naming it what we know today as ‘Pavlidou Ygeias’ Chocolate.
A Cypriot brand, Choco King has become a market leader in Cyprus producing the finest and most premium chocolate. Starting its production in 1990, the family-run business has seen an increase in popularity through the years, becoming a top choice for consumers.
Choco King’s product range varies from small shaped filled chocolates, chocolate Bonbons, special occasion chocolate treats, chocolate spreads, luxury gift boxes, desserts, and all types of cakes, as well as 3D.
The top quality of its raw materials, the education and knowledge that goes behind the production, and the quality system employed guarantee high quality for all Choco King products.
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