Pana is a sanctuary for the sweet-toothed looking for treats without the refined sugar load. Its natural desserts are made only from plant-based, organic ingredients; cacao beans from the Amazon, coconut oil cold-pressed in the Philippines and dark agave nectar from Mexico form full-flavoured treats.

Pana was an easy inclusion in Broadsheet Melbourne Food, our printed guide to the city’s best produce, from meat and vegetables to bread and coffee. We looked for quality above all else, prioritising the makers and retailers who’ve really dedicated themselves to their craft or cause.

This chocolate-y chia pudding has a cayenne pepper kick. Blending the chia is what makes this recipe special – you end up with a gorgeous, velvety mousse texture, perfect for breakfast, fancy lunch or an after-dinner treat. If you’d prefer not to spice it up, just omit the cayenne pepper, or replace it with freshly grated ginger. But if you can handle the heat, it’s a great metabolism kick-starter.

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Chia Pudding with a Kick by Pana Chocolate
Makes 4 puddings
Cooking time: 2 hours soaking time, plus five minutes preparation and 1 hour setting time

4tbsp chia seeds
250ml (1 cup) coconut milk/nut milk
6 medjool dates, pitted
2tbsp cacao powder
¼tsp Himalayan pink salt
¼tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pana chocolate, to serve
Dehydrated orange slices, to serve

Put the chia seeds into a bowl with the nut or coconut milk and stir to coat.

Cover and leave for two hours, to allow time for the chia seeds to soak up the liquid.

Once the chia seeds have finished soaking, put the chia and milk mixture into a high-speed blender.

Add the dates, cacao powder, salt, cayenne pepper and cinnamon, and blend on high until nice and smooth.

Divide the mixture between four glasses, then place in the fridge for approximately one hour, or until set.

Stick a square of your favourite Pana Chocolate into each chia pudding. You could also garnish with an extra dehydrated orange slice.

This is an edited extract from Pana Chocolate, The Recipes by Pana Barbounis published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $36 and is available in stores nationally.

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