What the world needs now is LOVE!
A little bit of love (and chocolate) always goes a long way. We meet the founder of Australian raw treats co 'Loco Love', Emica Penklis.
You are one busy sweet makin lady. Tell us about your average week and how you balance work and play here in Sydney, Australia.
Well, I must say of late life has become quite action packed. If you asked me a month ago I would have a completely different answer to this question. A week looks like, Tuesday and Thursdays in the kitchen, with my beautiful sister. Lately I have been working around the clock, developing my website, new packaging, business operations manuals, financial forecasts, pricing everything again, business plans for Los Angeles, lots of meetings, talking with lawyers and talking about business. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time, the goals I have set for myself are huge, though if you never give it a go you will never know. The play part of late doesn’t really exist, I enjoy my work, so everyday is play day.
How did the journey begin, what does the recipe involve and how did it evolve?
When I was 19 I had some health issues, that required me to start taking care of myself and my diet, my doctor recommended I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar for a period. The effects were amazing and I felt better quite quickly. I was also gifted the book ‘healing with wholefoods’ and started working at the local organic store (where I now sell my chocolates), I healed myself with whole foods and other alternative practices. Though I must mention even as a child I was obsessed with cooking, especially desserts without a recipe.
Fast forward to many years of modelling and a naturopathy degree, the healthy food obsession continued and by now I had sampled pretty much every healthy treat available. Then to 2013 working a medley of different jobs, including one as a sales rep for coconut water distributer. My boss at the time, encouraged me to make some raw treats so we could wholesale them. He bought me a food processor and a whole lot of ingredients. At the time I was making more bliss balls and cakes, I had one bar dipped in chocolate and decided this was going to be the first product, the coconut truffle. From there it started, it seemed to have a life of its own, I was just going along for the ride. A few months into it I realised that I loved what I was doing and then the cacao spirit started to work its magic.
I quit my job, went to LA, NYC and Burning man, then when I returned to Australia I was making chocolate full time and loving it. The recipes are the easy part, this part comes so natural to me. The evolution of Loco Love has been so serendipitous, each week a new dimension is added, it’s not without the hard work. Though I have a very clear vision of where it’s going now, and we haven’t even began to touch whats possible and what I am envisioning.
In the words of Hal David, “What the world needs now, is love sweet love…”
How do you feel LOCO LOVE plays a part in this?
Shamans believe cacao as a medicinal plant opens the heart and allows for a deeper, authentic love based connection with yourself, others and the world at large. There is so many spiritual benefits of cacao, that you may or may not believe. Though I can speak first hand that since working with cacao, my life has changed rapidly. It is said that cacao aids a stronger connection with the higher self, which in turn is empowering and lets you see the truth of who you are. After a couple of months into working with the cacao, things really started to shift and all of the synchronous occurrences in the last two and half years are mind blowing. I feel my purpose in life is too bring love to the world and to raise the vibration of the planet, that is infused in everything I do.
We are adding some new elements to Loco Love, one of them is a project called ‘When push comes to Love’ is will be a series of interviews to collect a world wide definition of what people feel love really is. It has many other elements, though I will save them for later. Love to me isn’t something you find, it is something you are and cacao helps clear the vision so you can see and become aware of this. Loco Love is not just about chocolate, It is about love, what this means and global change for the better. A connecting of individuals through shared stories and humanity. We hope redefine not only how one enjoys chocolate, though also how one experiences life. This will be put into action more in the up and coming projects.
You have spent a lot of time in New York and in LA in recent times. How do you find the health and wellness movement in the US compares with here in Australia?
I actually think its all realitively the same, due to the internet and social media. Years ago when I visited NY I was in health food heaven. Now its still amazing, though its all become more homogenised. Although Erewon in LA is still pretty special, and we cant buy a few of the ingredients here in Australia due to TGA laws. I feel LA is a little more fanatic and experimental about health, which I find fun, compared to Nyc and Australia. When I was there last year I was in a shop in Topanga and there was a sign reading – The electric Jesus, Local healer/shamanic personal trainer. I thought this was pretty funny at the time and summed up the vibe.
Sydney is definitely more conservative and needs science to prove that things work. Health is holistic, its not just about what we put into our bodies, its also about what we are doing with our precious time. Our time here on earth is sacred and I feel there is small communities in LA, NYC and Sydney that have a similar view on this. Regardless of what supplements, superfoods and tools are available to use, one of the core aspects of healing is love, acceptance and empowerment. I just think it might take a while for humanity to realise this as a collective.
A little birdy told me you may have your sights set on LA…? We can’t blame you, it’s a great part of the world. What is it about LA that sets it apart for you?
Yes this is true, its early days, though I am doing a lot of research and development, to open Loco Love in LA this year, Its all happening! For some reason I feel called to be there, LA for me is where stuff happens. While I am still young and childless I want to be amongst it. I grew up in the bush with my dad with solar panels and very isolated, and with my mum in the country. I love nature, though for now its about creating and sharing my mission with as many people as possible. I love California, its not just LA, its the surrounding areas, the access to new things to do and learn.
What’s next for LOCO LOVE? How would you like to keep bringing sweetness into our world?
So many things, we are just at the beginning, I feel like we haven’t even really touched whats possible. One of the things that is being developed at the moment in the online platform, which will be a compendium of love, and what we as a species feels that this is. The main goal is to inspire, to spread love and to encourage authenticity, creativity and connection. Something humanity seems to be struggling with, I feel as time progresses human creativity will be the one thing that differentiates us to machines and computers. Maybe thats a long way off, though the future is now. Also to share our artisan chocolate magic with the world, so many dreams!
And finally, tell us about your dream destination. What is your wanderlust destination?
I usually go for adventure holidays, though right now I would love to go and sit by the ocean in silence with someone I love and just be. That could be anywhere, as long as its isolated and warm, with great food and clean water. Then after this rejuvenation, I would travel to all of the worlds energy centres, well the ones I haven’t been to. I haven’t been to Uluru, so that would be first as it’s the closest. Then to Mount Kailas in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, where I would stay a while and soak it all up. After this to the Great Pyramid in the Middle East and then the final destination would be where ever the Aeon activation centre is, apparently its is currently in Western Europe; and before you think I am too weird I will stop there. These places are powerful energy vortexes and after visiting the other three places in the last couple of years, I know that spending time in these places has a powerful effect on your life.
See more on Loco Love and stockist HERE
All images by Chris Prestidge
Emica wears vintage and Nagnata frill top