Published on 1/13/21

Amatika 46% by Johann Vanier - Australia


Johann Vanier is La Pav’s head patissier, a born-and-bred Frenchman and classically trained pastry chef who has honed his exceptional skills with pastry and desserts in kitchens all over the world. 
Over a decade ago, Johann fell in love with pastry and moved to the south-west of France, where he spent years working in the pastry sections of Michelin-starred restaurants, five-star hotels and some of the finest patisseries the world has to offer. 

Since moving to Australia and settling in the northern beaches, his love of pastry has taken him through fine-dining restaurants in Sydney Harbour, hatted kitchens in Mosman, renowned restaurants and high-end wholesale hospitality companies, crafting pastries and desserts for five-star airlines and hotels. 

In 2018, 2019 he placed in the top five of the Savour Patisserie of the Year competition; a battle in which 20 of the world’s most talented pastry chefs competed for the top honour. At La Pav, Johann’s mission is to give the great Aussie pavlova a French twist, turning it into something worthy of the Michelin-starred kitchens he’s worked in without letting it lose its fresh and distinctly Aussie flair. 

Johann works with fresh, seasonal ingredients and has spent months researching and sourcing La Pav’s top quality produce from all over the world. He strives to elevate the ingredients with which he works, so even the most familiar flavours taste like the best possible versions of themselves.     

1-In general, why did you decided to try and use VEGAN product?
I started being interested in Plant-based pastry a few years ago, working in a fine dining restaurant, we had more and more request for vegan dessert. Here, in Australia, it is becoming really common to be on a plant based diet, but it is really difficult to find a good vegan dessert. I wanted to offer them something that is as good as a ‘normal’ pastry. 

2-Since when and how you did the transition from standard chocolate to VEGAN chocolate?
I have been using, until now, mainly ‘vegan friendly’ dark chocolate (Caraïbe, Manjari…) for my plant based pavlovas. But the transition to Amatika has been really easy. 

3-What do you think of the taste of AMATIKA?
Amatika is a ‘strong’ milk chocolate. At 46%, you can definitely taste the cocoa flavours more than the usual milk chocolate. Combine to the almond/nutty flavour, it is different but it gives it a lot of character. Regarding the textures, I have found it less ‘milky’ but lighter and smoother than other milk chocolate. 

4-What does this chocolate inspire you?
Amatika inspired me to pair it with something fresh, in this case coconut. But I am sure it would be amazing paired with any exotic fruit (mango, passionfruit…). I found that the strong flavour of it, is a perfect match for balancing the freshness of those fruits. 

5-Is it easy to work with?
It has been as easy as any other Valhrona chocolate to work with. I have found it a bit more fluid, but didn’t have any problems at all. 

6-What uses do you recommend?
I would recommend using it in ganaches, cremeux, and mousses, paired with different kind of plant-based milk (almond, hazelnut, coconut…) it is definitely bringing new depths of flavour.