We had the pleasure of falling in love with Liefje’s chocolate first and then their creators. Two dynamic and inspiring women who put integrity first and are ALL about High Grade Living. If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting this divine chocolate do yourself a favour and get some immediately. We interviewed chief chocolate maker Leo here…
Where do you currently live?
What currently keeps you engaged?
Liefje keeps me pretty busy and I love it! We are doing everything ourselves: from the choccy making, hand-tempering and wrapping to chatting with potential stockists and managing the accounts. When I’m not making chocolate I’m probably making furniture. I’m always happiest when I’m making something.
Can you tell us about how Liefje came into fruition?
Three years ago Nikki was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and she had to change her diet. The one thing she couldn’t bear to give up was really good dark chocolate. We couldn’t find a fine chocolate with no refined sugar or soy lecithin, so I started making choccy for her at home, tempering by hand on our marble kitchen counter. Friends told us they loved it and convinced us to turn our growing obsession into a small business.
What do you do personally to stay healthy?
Health was never a big priority in my 20’s. I have always been pretty physically active, but I carried it as a badge of honour that I could eat, drink and party as much as I wanted without ever needing to slow down. Nikki made major changes to her way of eating and living when she got sick and, after about a year I saw her start to glow from the inside. Then I lost my mother to cancer and I decided to change what I put in my body. I stopped drinking and smoking and we eat super-cleanly. Now the only thing from a jar in our house is salted anchovies.
How do you approach meditation?
Meditation is a relatively new part of my life and I try to approach it every time with an open mind, not expecting a certain outcome. Just sitting with myself for 20 minutes twice a day really makes a difference. It makes me much calmer – no road rage anymore!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Since we created Liefje there is no such thing as a typical day, luckily!
Is there anything you do daily that is non negotiable?
A shower when I wake up in the morning – even before meditation – without it my eyes simply don’t open. I am a sleepy-monster and need to stand under running water for a few minutes to convince my body it’s day time.
How do you define creativity?
To me, to be creative is to do stuff from the heart, not worrying about people’s opinions or the outcome. Let the doing be it’s own creation.
What brings you the most joy in your life?
Nikki. We have been together for over ten years and I think the strength in our relationship is a shared joy in the simple things, everyday.
What do you define as happiness?
For me happiness is not a constant state of being, it is a feeling that comes and goes. Life is light and shadow. Happiness for me tends to come from simple things – moments not objects.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to be?
I don’t ever think about achievements, but if following your heart and not being afraid to change things is an achievement, then that’s the one I’m aiming for.
What qualities do you seek in people?
Honesty. Everything else I can handle.
What is a saying or motto you live by or that is relevant to you right now?
May you wish for what you have.