It’s every chocoholic’s dream, turning your guilty pleasure into a full-time career. But for Melburnian, Pana Barbounis, he turned this sweet obsession into a guilt-free treat.

“I grew up in a family that was passionate about sharing food and food experiences together, in true European style. Food, to me, is everything. It’s medicine. It’s experience. It’s love – for ourselves, and to share with others,” says Barbounis.

Nestled on Church Street’s business strip in Richmond, Melbourne lies Pana Chocolate, a lovingly manufactured yet healthy chocolate brand.

Founder Pana Barbounis brought his rich background of over 20 years in the hospitality industry into his delectable chocolate brand. He is passionate about raw and slow-cooked food and owes his balanced lifestyle to his two children, who Barbounis says have inspired him to produce his own organic produce at home.

After being introduced to raw chocolate a few years ago by a close friend, Barbounis was instantly hooked and dedicated his time to pursuing his dream of creating his own raw chocolate brand.

Barbounis spent six months full-time trying to find the perfect recipe for Pana Chocolate. “I wanted a smooth, velvety texture packed with flavour, so I sourced organic products from all over the world and kept experimenting until it was Pana Chocolate,” he explains.

Pana Chocolate is made using a range of raw organic ingredients from trusted suppliers to achieve the ultimate chocoholic’s dream of creating an organic, raw chocolate that is actually good for you. Yes, this chocolate is actually good for you!

For the chocolate creator himself, Barbounis says it’s all about introducing people to alternatives to processed food. “I don’t want anybody to have a block of sugar, I care about people being able to access organic, raw, healthy chocolate,” he says. “I feel raw dessert making taps into a traditional element of handmade crafting.”

Pana Chocolate’s mission is to not only be good for us but also good for the earth, living by the motto “Love your insides. Love the earth.” The packaging used for all Pana Chocolate products is made from 100% recycled cardboard, manufactured in Australia and printed in Melbourne using soy-based inks.

With plenty more on the horizon for this healthy chocolate brand, Barbounis and his team are constantly looking at new products, playing with flavours and having fun with raw food. The Pana Chocolate shops evolve regularly with the raw kitchen team creating unique cake flavours, handmade chocolates and raw desserts daily, monthly and seasonally.

“As for our chocolate bar range,” adds Barbounis, “there are exciting plans for the middle of the year so stay tuned.”

Though it may seem almost too good to be true, Pana Chocolate is the definitive destination for the dedicated sweet tooth – but without the sugar and the guilt!

Image Credit: Pana Chocolate