When your sweetheart has been told she can no longer eat sugar, dairy and gluten, but she loves chocolate…what do you do? Right, you create a chocolate for her she CAN eat: Liefje!
The Goods Tube spoke with Nikki and Leo, the beautiful minds behind Liefje, for a candid insight in what drove this British/Dutch love couple to create this amazingly good raw chocolate.
Nikki and Leo met each other back in 2005. Nikki had just moved to Amsterdam from London and a mutual friend had invited them both for a day of boating on the Amsterdam Canals. There was an instant click and they talked for four hours straight. Nikki remembers, “I have no recollection of anyone else, just a feeling that being by Leo’s side was like standing in sunlight. It truly was love at first sight!”.
When Nikki was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease in 2011 she had to radically change her diet. It was tough, but she managed. There was just one thing she just couldn’t give up: Chocolate! “Nikki couldn’t find fine dark chocolate without sugar or soy lecithin”, Leo says. So she decided to create fine chocolate with raw cacao for her sweetheart, her ‘Liefje’.
But, how does one just start to make chocolate? “Leo had some experience chocolate-making from her time working as a dessert chef in a small Amsterdam restaurant”, Nikki explains. She started making chocolate for Nikki at home, tempering it by hand on the marble kitchen counter. She made sure to add maple syrup instead of sugar and besides raw chocolate, no other ingredients were used.
When friends tasted her creation they raved on about it, not much to Nikki’s surprise; “Leo is a one of life’s naturally gifted ‘makers’, whether she is making a batch of fine chocolate or a walnut sideboard (she is a furniture-maker by profession), she has an intuitive feel for when something is absolutely right. I love, admire and occasionally envy that”. Their friends convinced them the chocolate was too good to keep to themselves and urged them to bring it to market.
Now Nikki and Leo work on Liefje end-to-end from their location in Melbourne; they create the chocolate, pack it and sell it. And with success! Besides in their online store, they also sell in about 30 specialist stores around Australia, for example Essential Ingredient
in Prahran, and, of course, at The Goods Tube!
It doesn’t stop there though. Knowing that Leo is Dutch we assumed, liquorish, the number one Dutch sweet treat, must be in the making. And we were not far off! “Ha! You read our minds!”, Leo exclaims, “We have just launched a liquorice chocolate for serious liquorice lovers. It’s pretty intense. We source our organic licorice from Italy where they make it the traditional way from the boiled down roots of organic liquorice and nothing else. This liquorice syrup hardens into a black candy that we take, smash into smithereens and wrap in 78% fairly traded organic Peruvian raw cacao”.
Of course The Goods Tube wanted to get in bed with this ‘love-story-in-wrappers’. Therefore, we added a block of fine Liefje chocolate to our ‘Christmas Mulled’ tube and ‘Red Rouge’ tube. Both beautiful and very tasty Christmas presents for somebody you love!
Photo Credits portrait Nikki & Leo + food photography: @lisacohenphoto; Stylist: @mooreconcepts