The once sleepy suburb of Alexandria has slowly been waking up with new office buildings, apartment complexes, restaurants and cafes continuously rising up from its concrete streets. And like every new area, Alexandria is developing its own distinct personality – as a neighbourhood of health-conscious eateries and flavourful coffee cafes. Its newest resident, Pana Chocolate Sydney Shop and Cafe, is slipping right in to the scene and setting up shop next to the already-successful Bread and Circus Wholefoods Canteen. Dairy, soy, and gluten-free dessert treats line the shop’s glass display cases, eager to be picked up and paired with both a coffee from next door and a guilt-free conscience.

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The shop opens its doors to the public today, but we dropped by yesterday to toast to the occasion with a glass of vegan champagne. That’s right – vegan champagne – Rosnay. Because apparently most champagne is not vegan friendly – who knew? Pana Barbounis, founder of Pana Chocolate, and his team are so dedicated to clean-eating that they insisted the guests at yesterday’s media launch were only served vegan champagne. Alongside the bubbles, raw cakes and delicacies (including a creamy, nutty concoction called the “Pana Pop”) circled the room for guests to sample and… Instagram, naturally.

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#raw #vegan #organic – you’ve undoubtedly seen the hashtags and the accompanying raw, vegan, and organic food snaps. It’s clear healthy eating is trending on the social platform and Pana Chocolate is “milking” the trend – in a dairy-free way, of course. With 1-2 daily Instagram posts showcasing offerings from its initial shop in Melbourne, Pana Chocolate’s account now boasts a staggering 129k followers, with the number jumping 1k in the last day alone. Scrolling through their photo feed is a hunger-inducing experience, which lucky for its Sydney followers – can now finally be satiated at the new Sydney shop.

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Photos by Gary Compton.

About The Author

After visiting most of the major city hubs around the world while growing up, Sangeeta Kocharekar arrived in the furthest one from home (the good old US of A) six years ago - Sydney, Australia - and hasn't looked back since. She relies on her trusty weather vane to detect the next big fashion and beauty trend storms in the distance to hit. She also eats, drinks, and dances her way around town scoping out stories to report on so Sydney Social 101's loyal readers are in the know. You can follow her adventures on Instagram at @sangeetatatiana.

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