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When SPC met Sala

When Jessica Pedemont, South Pacific Cacaos Chief Chocolate Evangelist, dined at Sydney’s newest waterside restaurant Sala Dining, her eyes darted straight to the dessert menu. It wasn’t just her sweet-toothed cravings – Jessica was keen to see the fruits of her efforts in print… and taste them!
Jessica collaborated with Danny Russo, Sala’s co-owner and executive chef, in the weeks before restaurant’s recent opening. Their goal: to be among the first restaurants in Sydney’s competitive dining scene to use South Pacific Cacao’s unique, ethically sourced single-origin chocolate.
Danny saw it as a chance to break the default use of mass-produced “premium” European chocolate brands as an ingredient in commercial kitchens.
“I love food, and the celebration of food,” he explains. “I think it’s an extremely sad reality that we can find ourselves dining in a local cafe, a fine-dining restaurant alongside the harbour, or a 5-star hotel restaurant in the CBD, and you are probably eating the exact same brand of chocolate in each place.
“I want to offer our guests an experience; to taste something that we believe is a unique and amazing product that’s artisan-made and local, with a beautiful story behind it of passion and dedication.”
While Danny and Jessica had crossed paths in hospitality over the years, he hadn’t had the opportunity to showcase her South Pacific Cacao chocolates until Sala was in menu development.
“We conducted a great deal of product sourcing prior to our opening to find what we consider great products,” Danny says. “It is a tremendous joy to consume chocolate that has been produced locally using just natural ingredients, with cacao beans farmed by our Pacific Island neighbours.
“Each of SPC’s chocolates has a unique flavour profile and character that vividly describes the product’s history and manufacturing process. The pure cocoa butter is such a welcome alternative to commercial butters that have undergone processing to eliminate these distinctive flavours. Anyone who has only ever consumed big chocolate brands will find the 75% dark chocolate a real treat.”
Sala has two desserts on the current menu that hero South Pacific Cacao products: the signature Sala Hazelnut and the Chocolate Mousse Terzetto Tart.
Photo Credit Michael Lewis
Photo Credit Jude Cohen
Chocolate Mousse Terzetto Tart photo credit: Michael Lewis
Sala Hazelnut photo credit: Jude Cohen
“We use SPC’s 50% vanilla coconut mylk chocolate in the centre of the Sala Hazelnut. The coconut flavours linger within the chocolate, enhancing the profile of the hazelnut.”
The Terzetto Tart is virtually Jessica’s finest South Pacific Cacao chocolate bars in one dish! “After meeting sampling the various chocolate profiles, this dessert was developed to honour the high calibre of SPC chocolate. I wanted to make a dessert that did not overpower the flavour’s complexity. To highlight the best of SPC, we used three distinct chocolates in the tart: 33% Ooh La La caramelised white, 50% vanilla coconut mylk, and 75% dark chocolate.”
Danny anticipates using more South Pacific Cacao products as Sala’s menu evolves and values his relationship with SPC as a supplier.
“As chefs, our food is like a collection of stories that arrive at your table, whether it’s in a bowl, or in a plate. What a better way to start a story than using SPC – it’s a tale of innovation, authenticity and integrity.”

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