Vegan chocolate making
Being chocolate lovers, we wanted to know more about vegan chocolate. We caught up with Simon Lester, the founder of Pascha Chocolate and got a chance to ask him a few questions:
How did you get the idea of vegan chocolate in the first place?
When one of my daughters developed a serious, life-threatening food allergy my life changed. All food items had to be examined and re-thought because cross contamination was serious and endemic. The penny dropped when I thought back to my early career experience with Cadbury chocolate in the UK.
How did Pascha Chocolate get started?
We went literally all round the world looking for manufacturing capability to make this pure vegan chocolate (and nut free and soy free). It did not exist. We eventually found a company in Peru who were processing cocoa beans and they were able to work with us to make the chocolate. It took quite a bit of time to perfect the formulation but I had some good assistance from some ex-Cadbury people. Once we had the chocolate source figured out, we “simply” created the brand and booked a booth at a big trade show in California… and everything started moving from there.
Our entire philosophy is that if an ingredient does not come from the earth, it does not go in our chocolate.
It used to be that vegans, and others who are avoiding dairy, couldn’t have milk chocolate. We understand that dairy-free milk chocolate is finally available. Can you tell us more about that?
Well, this is a particular passion of mine. I have the flavor of European milk chocolate deeply ingrained in all parts of my brain – physical, emotional, sensory, the gamut. But I can’t have cow’s milk, so I had to create a non-dairy equivalent. We use organic rice milk to replace the cow’s milk. We are now experimenting with some additional alternative milks, but I crave perfection on this and we will keep at it until it’s absolutely perfect and only then will we be satisfied. We’re getting close!
Thank you, Simon. We look forward to seeing, and more importantly tasting, more delicious Pascha chocolate formulations in the near future.