Pana Barbounis from Melbourne started his business delivering home made chocolate on his scooter. Now, Pana Chocolate is everywhere, well-known in 25 different countries with over 3,000 different stockists. It’s an Aussie success story and is ushering in a new way to think about treats and how they help the planet.
Barbounis’ brand responded to a growing demand for raw, organic and vegan products that were healthy and environmentally friendly. He wanted to create ‘a rich, luxurious chocolate the whole world could enjoy regardless of beliefs, religion or dietary requirements. In terms of taste, his focus was on a ‘myriad of sensations’ for a chocolate that could be smooth yet full of texture, and sweet yet spicy. What he wound up creating was a unique, melt-in-the-mouth line of chocolate that more and more people started hankering for.
Now Pana Chocolate is in all 67 Meyer stores across Australia and is the exclusive chocolate supplier for Etihad Stadium. It’s also a fast favourite of ours and if you read on, it’s pretty easy to see why.
The best ingredients around
The founding idea behind Pana Chocolate is that it should be for everybody, without harming the planet in the process. It’s why Barbounis’ chocolate contains all natural, organic, vegan ingredients. Pana Chocolate contains no unhealthy sugars and is completely raw (meaning making it involves minimal heat). It’s the perfect example of ‘chocolate that loves what’s within as well as the world it came from’. Surprisingly, it even contains whole ingredients that are wholeheartedly good for you. Here are just a few of the most important ones:
It probably goes without saying, but great chocolate demands good cocoa powder. People call cacao a ‘superfood’ due to its high density of nutrients and proven health benefits. It’s full of antioxidants, good fats, and minerals. It even contains small amounts of Vitamin C and A – maybe a spoonful of cacao powder a day could keep the doctor away!
This special, unrefined salt is said to have a whopping 84 beneficial minerals in it that your body needs to stay healthy. About 98% of this is sodium chloride, 0.07% is magnesium, 0.05 is sulfate and about 0.0006% is iron. Just a pinch of minerals like this can make a big difference to bodily health and wellbeing.
This natural sweetener is made from the nectar of several different agave cactus plants. It tastes a little like sugar but is unrefined and around 1.5 times sweeter, so a chocolatier or chef would need less overall to make an impact.
Coconut oil is full of essential fatty acids and is one of the richest sources of saturated fat out there. Don’t worry though, this is a fantastic thing. These types of acids can help boost brain function and make your body feel fuller for longer. It’s part of what makes Pana Chocolate the perfect 3pm pick-me-up!
As well as being super yummy, cinnamon is also a known anti-inflammatory and traditionally medicinal in many parts of the world. It’s anti-microbial and immunity-boosting as well as a quick, natural way to sweeten food and add flavour.
Totally certified, totally great
Because they strive to be inclusive, Pana Chocolate are also completely transparent about their processes as well as their ingredients. In fact, they’re one of the most certified chocolate brands we’ve ever seen! They even support a variety of vegan and vegetarian groups, animal welfare programs, community groups, health organisations, charities and like-minded businesses each year. Who knew that chocolate could do so much good in the world?
Pana Chocolate’s long list of certifications starts with Australian Certified Organic. This means all their ingredients grow without synthetic chemicals, fertilisers or GMOs. It also confirms they’re a business with a firm focus on sustainable practice across the board, and we’re all about that!
They’re also Vegan and Vegetarian Society approved, using no animal ingredients or ingredients that have been tested on animals. The Vegetarian Society also happens to be the only legally registered trademark for vegetarian accreditation in the world, so that’s an incredibly big deal too.
Their EU Organic logo confirms Pana Chocolate fits the conditions and regulations of the organic farming sector established by the European Union. It’s also Kosher Australia certified and Halal certified, so as many people can enjoy chocolate in good conscience as possible.
Finally, Pana Chocolate Raw Cacao is all Fair Trade, meeting international fair trade standards for better prices, decent working conditions and local sustainability. It also means fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world, an ethical necessity for business in the 21st century.
All in all, Pana Chocolate is a downright amazing brand. From humble, Melbourne beginnings the ethically-minded business has hit the ground running. Now it’s out there across the globe for all to enjoy, keeping the planet safe and funding ideal practice in the process. Of course, the most important part is that it tastes incredible – just try it and see for yourself!