THE PANTORI STORY
Tummy troubles, IBS, digestive issues – the list goes on. Most of us at some point in our lives have suffered in one way or another. In 2014, after years of issues, tests and triggers, it wasn’t until I was sitting in my appointment with a new doctor that something quite life changing happened. She’d heard great things about a new way of thinking on the block called ‘The Low FODMAP Diet’, which was big in Australia but only just becoming known here in the UK. So the doctor started to talk me through the thinking behind it, whilst dangling a curly telephone wire in front of me to explain what was going on in my intestines … and then it all began to make sense. Ha, that phone was like a direct line to my intestines, and after years of ‘please hold the line’ my tummy was ready to talk!
Enough with the phones it was time to hit the internet, I was hungry for information about The Low FODMAP Diet and my tummy was hungry for the right kind of food. But as with all new regimes and plans what you CAN’T eat becomes all-consuming, and I could feel my telephone wire beginning to curl up again at the thought of the long road ahead.
Then one day my partner Danny said 4 little words that changed my life once more … no not ‘will you marry me?’, but ‘what CAN you eat?’. Obvious I know, but instead of making a huge list about what I couldn’t eat I made one of all those I could. That was the first breakthrough. Fine, now this was going to be super easy … little did I know the frustrations that lay ahead.
Knowing what you can eat is half the battle, but rustling up quick tasty meals after work, or grabbing stuff for convenience on the go is sometimes impossible. The hours spent cruising the aisles in supermarkets reading endless lists of ingredients left me despondent and disillusioned, as if it wasn’t already daunting enough trying to make the majority of my food from scratch.
In 2016, our wanderlust got the better of us and Danny and I decided to pack up and begin our travels in South East Asia before spending a couple of years in Australia and on to New Zealand. During our 4 year adventure we were in food heaven – food and travel are without doubt my two biggest passions, and the combination of the two is quite magical. The colours, flavours and stories behind the delicious varied local dishes during that time not only reignited my taste buds, but also my desire to be able to eat those kinds of dishes back home with ease.
In Australia I was overwhelmed by how popular the Low FODMAP diet was, it made the gluten free aisles in the UK supermarkets look tiny. There were so many amazing food products on the shelves that were FODMAP friendly, and even cafes and restaurants advertised Low FODMAP dishes on their menu, so eating out was once again a joy! No one was a stranger to this way of eating – I might have had to travel to the other side of the world to see it and experience it – but it was there, live and kicking!
When we returned to the UK in 2020 I discovered that there were now some great Low FODMAP products available, and many forums and groups were popping up online too offering help and support which was fantastic to see. But I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing with all I’d learnt over the many years of tried and tested diets, and now my foodie travel adventures too – I wanted to use my knowledge and experience to bring flavour and excitement to peoples FODMAP journey and turn it into their own personal adventure!
Having been fed up playing Russian Roulette with stock cubes and spice blends in the supermarket, I began making up my own from scratch, as that was the only way I could be certain they didn’t contain the pesky onion or garlic. So after years of experimenting, I’d come up with the perfect blend of spices, all fully plant based with no nasties, additives or bulking agents. And so my quest to bring flavour and excitement back into people’s lives began as I fine tuned my spice mixes and bouillons so I could spread the word and people could feel secure in the knowledge that their cooking was risk free as their confidence soared and their taste buds exploded!
After feeding my friends and family for years I knew that my recipes were certainly tried and tested, so now they were ready for a wider audience – all I had to do was to take things to the next level and create my own little business to actually get my products out into people’s kitchens. But what would I call it?
After much debate over dinners and a couple of drinks and taking things back to basics I realised that I wanted to create a product that would be a staple in kitchen cupboards and pantries across the country – a go-to risk-free flavoursome packet of joy representing the history, stories and passions of various local dishes and cuisines from across the globe – and all of course FODMAP friendly.
So far in my journey I’d taken inspiration from my travels for my spice blends and recipes – so I decided to come full circle and take a little more for my name. So, I looked to East Asia where the memory of colourful fresh ingredients, herbs and spices all blended together to provide a taste sensation was still at the forefront of my mind.
Pantry in Japanese is Pantori – so this is where our story, our dream, our brand really begins.