Admittedly, raw chocolate is not the first thing most people reach for when they're looking for a treat. But Pana Barbounis, founder and chocolate maker at Pana Chocolate is trying to change that — and he's doing a pretty darn good job. Available Australia-wide and in some international countries, Pana is taking his love of slow-cooked, raw foods and health-conscious sweet treats to the masses. It's all about making that indulgent moment a guilt-free one for both your body and the planet — the packaging is 100 percent Australian made and recyclable.
Pana Chocolate has been selling its chocolate bars for a while now, mostly into health food stores and some supermarkets. Think flavours like vanilla and sour cherry, mint, orange, and cinnamon. Now, they've taken their raw chocolate secrets and opened a beautiful space on Chapel Street in Richmond, acting as a shopfront for their kitchen where all the Pana Chocolate is made.
The space is small, but has a few seats in the window for those who want to linger and enjoy their cacao treats on gorgeous pale blue plates. If you're on the run, get your goodies to go and enjoy them back at the office or as an after-dinner dessert. What makes Pana so special is that the entire range is raw and plant-based, free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Their ingredients are sourced from all over the world, including cacao beans from the Amazon, coconut oil from the Philippines and dark agave nectar from Mexico. An international treat.
Speaking of treats, you can indulge in one of the many dainty delights that sit erect on display. They range from individual chocolates, 'cheesecake' pops, raw cakes, and individual creations like the Vespa Wheel: a buckwheat wafer biscuit with coconut marshmallow, raspberry chia jam and raw cacao. The cakes rotate, but can be anything from raspberry, rosem and pistachio, white choc berry, caramel fig, mandarin pistachio, kiwi mint lime, strawberry vanilla or choc fudge.
Single chocolates and fudges are also on display, making the raw line-up a very impressive one indeed. And you can sip on a cacao almond milk hot chocolate, just in case you haven't quite met your sweet quota for the day.
This is not a drill folks, this is raw chocolate that tastes as good — if not better — than the real thing.