Chocolatepreneur Pana Barbounis is the king of raw chocolate amongst us health foodies. With a cult following across Australia, Pana now has two thriving cafe's in Sydney + Melbourne, and a massive cohort of fans on Instagram.
With a broad background in hospitality, having worked as a Director of wholesale and Director / Owner of many Melbourne cafes & restaurants for over 20 years, this guys knows his stuff. He is passionate about raw and slow-cooked food and enjoys bringing people together to experience the enjoyment of cooking food through love, health and happiness. He never compromises on ingredients by ensuring good quality organic ingredients are used to deliver the best flavours, texture and taste in a very balanced way.
I catch up with the man himself to find out how he built such a thriving empire...
Who or what inspired you to create Pana Chocolate?
Just three years ago, I tasted raw chocolate for the first time. From then, my dream was to create a rich, luxurious and good-for-you chocolate that the whole world could enjoy… and Pana Chocolate was born!
What’s your food philosophy?
My passion for organic produce and penchant for artisanal crafts, culminated in Pana Chocolate, which began operating in July 2012. A business with sustainability at its core, Pana Chocolate is committed to producing eco-friendly, vegan chocolate that is as healthy as it is delicious. It’s a chocolate that loves what’s within, as well as the earth it came from.
Pana Chocolate contains only natural and organic ingredients and never sees heat above 42 degrees, to produce a non-acidic chocolate that retains its naturally occurring nutrients and antioxidants. The chocolate is lovingly handmade in Melbourne, with the philosophy that we should love our insides, and love the earth.
What’s your proudest moment or achievement to date?
The proudest moment of my career is the support I received from his first 10 stockists in Melbourne. They took a chance on a new, Australian made chocolate, believed in the brand right from the start, and are the reason Pana Chocolate has been able to develop such a unique product the whole world can enjoy.
Do you have any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in the wellness business?
Pana Chocolate is a business founded on a deep passion for quality ingredients, the health of your insides, and a desire to make the world a little nicer through sustainable practices. Having a strong vision for what you believe in and want to achieve is the greatest place to start.
Any new & exciting news on the horizon?
Next week we will launch our UK and European websites! For the first time, residents in 30 European countries will be able to purchase our chocolate online and have it shipped directly to them, which is very exciting indeed.
If I looked inside your fridge, what would I find?
My fridge is full of fresh and organic fruit and vegetables, including lots of leafy greens, hummus, my mum’s homemade falafel burgers, ingredients to make some delicious vegan curries and of course a supply of Pana Chocolate!
What would your last supper be?
The perfect last supper on my table would be a vegan version of his mother’s cooking, shared with close friends and family! Food is made better when shared and enjoyed with others.
To discover more & connect with Pana, click below: