Who are we?
Family-owned chocolate-makers for three generations
Jean and Louise Guion and their two children left their homeland of Italy for Belgium in the 1920s. Jean found work in the quarries at Quenast. Then a little guesthouse close to the quarry came on the market. So this business-minded couple decided to run the guesthouse, which they did until Jean listened to his heart and went to lean the trade he had always wanted at the Godelaine chocolate factory. A few years later, the Guions opened their chocolate workshop/store in Avenue du Pesage, in Brussels. In 1936, they moved to Rue du Bailly and Art de Praslin was born. To stand out from their rivals, Jean and Louise put their inventiveness to good use by working together to create pralines with new flavours, such as Bouchon, Tosca, Délice and many more. These creations still adorn the shelves in Art de Praslin stores.
From the capital to the provinces: Creating the store in Wavre:
Jean and Louise’s daughter, Dina, displayed her taste for chocolate and way it is made from a very early age. She joined the business and learned from her parents the noble art of designing and creating pralines. The next generation of the business was now in place. Married to a Wavre local, Dina opened her workshop and store in Rue de Nivelles, Wavre in 1958. What is an important city today was just a large village back then and Dina’s gamble was certainly a big one. While a ballotin of pralines may have been seen as the ideal gift of all occasions in the capital, it wasn’t yet a consumer habit in the provinces. But Dina’s gamble proved a success and made a major contribution to re-energising the family business.
National and international recognition:
In 1968, the third generation joined the firm. Edwige brought a beneficial breath of fresh air, while immersing herself in the company traditions. In 1989, she was joined by her brother Joël and sister-in-law Rose-Marie. While they retained the production methods and recipes of previous generations and also laid claim to their status as chocolate-making artisans, they were very much in step with their time.
They looked beyond their borders, in particular by exhibiting at the Shanghai universal exposition and being part of the Walloon Region delegation to Hong Kong. They also took part in all of Belgium’s major celebrations, such as King Baudouin’s 60th birthday and his 40 years on the throne. That particular occasion was marked by 200 kg of strawberries dipped in white chocolate. They also created the Mathilde praline for the wedding of our sovereigns, and the Royale, commissioned by the city of Wavre for the joyous arrival of the King and Queen. All in all, they have made Art de Praslin a national treasure.
A handicraft tradition, requiring union skills:
Everything in our workshops is made by hand. You won’t find any machinery, or any trace of automation for that matter. All of our pralines today are still made based on the recipes developed by our founding father, Jean Guion.
We work with local and seasonal products, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cherries, etc. At the present time, our range features over 130 sorts of praline. This palette of flavours is enhanced further by other products that are as unusual as they are ambitious, born of interesting encounters or in response to major occasions (link to praline Floc de Gascogne, praline Royale, praline Mathilde). Art de Praslin has been surprising and delighting the most demanding chocolate-lovers for over 80 years.