We meet PANA BARBOUNIS, FOUNDER OF PANA CHOCOLATE AND TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO CHAT TO HIM ABOUT THE GROWING TREND IN VEGAN DESSERTS AS MORE PEOPLE ARE PLEDGING TO GO VEGAN.
1) What is the philosophy behind Pana Chocolate desserts?
We were looking for a way to expand our offer but to also showcase what we were capable of creating when products are all raw, organic, vegan and handmade. During our research phase we couldn’t find any other dessert shops in the world like it, so of course we wanted to be the first. And thanks to social media we’ve also been able to share with the world just how unique and interesting raw, organic vegan desserts can be.
2) What pastry kitchen tools can't you live without? Why?
We love a power mixer! It’s exhilarating to use and you can create some great textures and incredible smoothness in a variety of raw products.
"THE FIRST SALE FOR PANA CHOCOLATE WAS THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $2 AND IT CAME FROM A FRIEND AFTER I HAD PROVIDED HER WITH LOAD OF SAMPLES. I STILL HAVE THAT $2, IT’S WITH THE TEAM AND I IN THE OFFICE..."
3) What are some of your favourite ingredients to use?
Cacao butter has the most amazing organic natural fragrances, and has a special place because it’s the connection between our desserts and chocolate bars. I’m also a big fan of coconut oil and love using it at home too, it has many uses.
4) What are your top three tips for dessert success?
* Presentation. Your senses work together, so make it look as good as it tastes.
* Balance. A little bit of sweetness is best when balanced with goodness.
* Reinvention. Take an old love and work with it to create a new love, one that ticks all your boxes now. We’ve had a great time reinventing desserts and now are some of our most popular products, like the Vespa Wheel and Pana Pop.
5) Who are your mentors / pastry heroes?
My food hero is Heston Blumenthal, he is a master of unique creations with so much depth and flavour. I absolutely love how he has questioned the process of everything and then reinvented it.
6) What trends does Pana Chocolate see emerging in vegan desserts?
I see vegan desserts heading the same way as we’ve seen vegan meals over the past few years, they’ll become more popular and a standard item on most menus at good cafés. This is a great thing for not only your health but also for the environment. If you can change just one meal a day to vegan you are making a difference.
7) Tell us a fun or unknown fact about Pana Chocolate!
The first sale for Pana Chocolate was the total amount of $2 and it came from a friend after I had provided her with load of samples. I still have that $2, it’s with the team and I in the office.