ZENBUNNI, the secret ingredient
Thier chocolates have been seen in Vogue, Goop and more...we meet the magical family behind the iconic Californian treats
We get the vibe that there is a very romantic story which brought the two of you lovely souls together and now a wonderful family and business. Tell us more about how the two of you found love, and a love chocolate…
We first met on a photo shoot 17 years ago. Bunni was the photographer, and I (Zen) was the Art Director, but and our personalities (to put it lightly) clashed the whole 2 day shoot. We said good riddance to each other and thought we’d never see each other again! As fate would have it, I had to pick up the contact sheets personally and she ended up living near me. I didn’t even want to go in the house, so I flipped through the contacts in the doorway, I could feel Bunni staring as I scanned through them quickly. I startled her by asking to come in and sit down, she reluctantly said yes. I sat down, looked at her and said “these are the most amazing photos I’ve ever seen in my life”. I stood back up and looked at the images that adorned the walls of her cottage and realized i was in the presence of a true master. I was quickly humbled, my ego dropped, her’s did too, and as if two artists had met for the first time we fell into a wonderful friendship from that moment on..thick as thieves.. the best of friends for almost two years. Something in the stars, along with a magical cup of chai, brought us to kiss one very late night…and we’ve been together ever since.
10 years ago we discovered the path of “optimal health” or “living naturally” and got the real download on the difference of eating organic to conventional, what superfoods were, the magic of chinese and ayurvedic herbs, medicinal funghi and fermented foods…and we were sold!!! We switched instantly and noticed profound results quickly, however we were longing for a healthy chocolate that actually tasted like chocolate. So Zen took it upon himself to make some for us and all our friends that tasted it encouraged us to sell it in our art gallery. After saying no for quite awhile, we finally said ok…and it started flying out the door. We looked at each other and said “I guess we’re going into the chocolate business” That was 9 years ago….
One taste and it’s not hard to tell why everyone is raving about your chocolate tell us about what makes ZB so unique & much more than just chocolate…
Well the real secret ingredient is “magic”, the energy and intention along with biodynamic ingredients creates something that may not be quantifiable, but you can feel it when you taste it. We’ve actually had people cry in our shop on several occasions after having a sample. To create something with so much love that people can connect to it emotionally is a constant reminder that we are on the right path. We’ve both committed to doing everything possible in our lifetime to help Mother Nature and she blessed us with Biodynamic Chocolate as the vehicle.
When we went from Organic to Biodynamic, everything changed and the mission became very clear, it wasn’t just a chocolate bar anymore. Organic and “being sustainable” unfortunately isn’t enough with what’s been done to our planet. We urgently need to go beyond organic and that is by working with farmers that use “Regenerative Agricultural” methods that don’t stop at simply not using chemicals on their farm, but to actually feed their soil, treat it like a living organism, and regenerate healthy top soil (the most crucial layer of earth to grow and sustain life).
Biodynamic Farming is Regenerative and Spiritual which is why we love it so much. This “closed loop” method works with the natural earth rhythms, the moon cycle, and the subtle yet powerful forces of our cosmos creating a much needed and forgot connection to ourselves and the universe.
With stores in Santa Monica and Venice beach now what do you think might be the next big magic plan for the brand?
To really expand our wholesale and get our biodynamic chocolates and other biodynamic goodies out to as many people as possible. We are planning on launching a handful of other chocolate items and non chocolate items like biodynamic coffee, biodynamic jaggery sugar, biodynamic flour, spices, oils, teas (lot’s of magic coming). We want to have all the major staples and medicinal extracts and powdered blends to cover your kitchen and apothecary needs while empower farmers throughout the world to switch to Biodynamic practices to heal the earth.
We adore this mystical little cabin of yours tucked away in Topanga Canyon tell us about the background of this special place and what has brought you to this area?
We were tired on Hollywierd Los Angeles..we had both been here for over 10 years. Bunni said it’s time to move to Montana or Topanga, I said “where’s Topanga?” We drove and looked at 1 house and moved. We both got to take it down a few notches and connect to Mother Nature, and life really changed for us. This felt right. After 8 years of renting and looking, we bought a property almost 4 years ago that was exactly what we were looking for. The view was everything and the land was ready for us. The property came with a cabin along with the house we would rebuild. We thought we’d live in this cabin for a few months during the remodel, but it’s been a few years..we had no idea what we were getting into when you demo and rebuild a home (woah!) But we are doing everything by hand as one large art project (you’ll have to come back when it’s done;) and we actually also do “green” interior design, so everything from the paint to building materials is nontoxic. We’ve enjoyed this little nest, but look forward to stretching our arms and having some dance parties soon!!!
What are your top 10 things to do in Topanga – your favourite cafes restaurants market stores vintage stores? Where perhaps do you take your best friends when they visit the area?
I don’t think there are 10 things to do in Topanga;) The best thing to do is hike and enjoy the abundant nature around. We love to just stay home and work on the land as much as possible. But if you’re up here…Hidden Treasures is an incredible vintage shop, Canyon Gourmet has a lovely selection of gourmet goodies, as well as Topanga Living Cafe for all your organic needs! However, dinner party’s at friends’ homes in the canyon is really the best ticket in town..we have such an amazing community up here!
Follow the journey of ZENBUNNI HERE
All images by Magdalena Wosinska