Our History

Founded in 1978, but creating sweet themed gifts for over a century and a half, Panache is imbued with generations of experience and knowledge.

The Samadi family has been selling sweets since the 19th Century; starting in 1862 Beirut, Lebanon, M. M. Samadi started selling Mediterranean sweet pastries and other confectionery from their shop, named “M Samadi & Sons”.

Established for 115 years with multiple branches by the 1970’s, Samadi’s sweets were the world’s premiere baklawas, Mediterranean sweets, pastries and imported Belgian chocolates, with imitation stores borrowing the family name still appearing today in many parts of the world, including London, America and all across the middle east

A British rebirth of a century of tradition

The start of the Lebanese civil war spelt the end of more than a century of history for Samadi Sweets, as the branches in Beirut were closed and M.H. “Dino” Samadi & Jamila Samadi came to London in 1976, to stay with Jamila’s mother.

Using his extensive family history of selling sweets and Jamila’s incredible flair for design, they began formulating a concept of combining the finest European confectionery with the finest decorative items from Europe’s premium designers; catering for those with the most discerning tastes and demanding expectations. Now in the hands of their son, the 5th generation continuing the family tradition of selling the finest sweets available, keeping the same level of attention to detail and high standards that come with such a long history and tradition.

Working with long established and award winning French confectioners and chocolatiers, and premium designers of luxury decorative items from across England and mainland Europe, we can help you create speciality pieces and chocolate gift items that will suit your needs in a unique way. We offer only the finest confectionery and carry stock and are authorised retailers for some of Europe’s most famous home decorative manufacturers such as Baccarat, Christofle and Herend, and work with brands such as Lalique, Daum, Jay Strongwater as well as many more smaller ateliers from Murano to Sheffield.

Beirut, "the Paris of the Middle East"

Lebanon and the Levant have sat at the crossroads and ports of the silk road, where East meets West, since pre-history; with the Phoenicians lending the ancient Greeks their proto-alphabet before establishing trading ports across the Mediterranean, and then it’s people lived as part of the post – Alexandrian Hellenistic Diadochi, the lavish Roman and then Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire over a period stretching nearly 1,200 years, creating its’ own unique Levantine culture for the region.

Before the onset of the civil war, Lebanon and Beirut in particular was an exceptionally chic part of the world, with strong French and Mediterranean influences even after the end of quasi-colonial French rule, with a vibrant and varied people that still love nothing more than to party every evening with loved ones, showing off their individuality with extravagant fashions and spending their nights celebrating the gifts of life, family and friends, even at times of crisis. It is only natural that enjoying and enhancing celebrations and events is so ingrained. 

A reimagining of generations of chocolatiers and sweet-makers

Reimagining the family tradition of a century of selling sweets, with an artistic talent and a shared obsession with quality, the founders created a unique concept of combining the finest handmade French confectionery with luxuriously decorated gift boxes or the finest giftware and home decorative items from England and mainland Europe.

Originally located at 35 Knightsbridge at its creation in 1978 and occupying the same shopfront for 38 years until the building was demolished, now 10 minutes away on Kensington Church St in a larger store since 2016; Panache has tried to lead the world-market in combining exquisite sweets with stunning presentations: our ability to blend the two made us quite unique.

What's in a word

Panache

– pəˈnaʃ / pa • nash

Definition

Noun

  1. a grand or flamboyant manor; flair; verve.
  2. distinctive elegance / self assurance
  3. a stylish, original, and confident way of doing things that makes people admire you

via French, from Old Italian pennacchiofrom the Latin pinnaculum (pinnacle) 

In 1978, when forming the idea for creating a shop to occupy the pinnacle in giftware, the founders chose the name Panache, as it truly embodies everything about our business.

Panache as a word is literally impossible to define with just one term, and so it is with Panache as a gift retailer.

We offer such a wide range of products and services, all of them united in their shared originality and distinctive elegance, that is can be hard to explain what we do with any one word other than:

Artistic talent and exquisite taste combine to create unique gifts

In addition to our exclusive range of unique and elaborate chocolate gift boxes featuring some of the word’s finest handmade French chocolates, we can also create custom designs with you for the production of an exclusively designed piece in crystal, bronze or silver, just for your event; or use one of the countless centrepieces already in production from our suppliers, to produce a unique chocolate themed showpiece, using our flair for décor and with our handmade French chocolates. Our decorative touches and experienced designers and carpenters can add panache to anything; we can create a one of a kind presentation exactly to your requirements.

From our selection of French confectionary which always delights even the most refined chocolate connoisseur, to our elegant designer centrepieces and seasonal gift baskets, which are so well received, Panache offers something that very few shops in the world can; a specialised service catered completely to your needs

For special events and seasonal gifts we create our own bespoke designs for your gifting needs, and can customise our products to help bring your own vision to life, using only items of the highest quality and with incredible attention to detail.

Wedding and special event services

We also offer speciality wedding and baby-shower favours, supplying countless royal weddings across the world over our history: creating customised bonbonnieres and centrepieces to compliment the colouring and themes of the special occasion. Unlike most suppliers of favours, ours are completely made in-house, allowing us to not only select the highest quality of all materials that go into the production but also to completely customise the item for your needs. Please contact us for more information.

Our greatest satisfaction comes from being involved in the weddings & new baby showers of clients who we helped welcome into the world in our own chocolate-themed way, during their own baby shower celebrations, across three generations so far in some cases. 

In addition; foil printed invitations & labels, silver & crystal engraving services, and large floral displays, place-settings or arrangements can be designed and produced by Panache, catered for your event.

Award winning designers, creating expressions of real panache

Having won awards for our window-dressings, and been recognised for our floral displays and award winning selection of chocolates, Jamila Samadi passed on her talents for design and the concept of presenting chocolate themed gifts with unique decorative touches, in an art that has been developed over our long history in London as well as previously in Beirut. Our designers can bring almost any concept to life, as a chocolate gift item, for your gifting or event needs and we pride ourselves in the presentations created to produce items that you can be proud to show at your celebrations and give to those dear to you.

Panache prides itself on: fantastic chocolates, a high level of care and attention to detail, the ability to completely cater our handmade products to our customers’ preferences, a long history with a sustained love for what we do, and a real dedication to making sure our clients can be proud of what they have purchased.

With over 40 years of experience, a family tradition of selling sweets for over 150 years, and an artistic flair that is unique to us, we hope to help bring some Panache to your home.