I have been trying to get in touch with Mast Brothers Chocolate for some time. After hearing about them, I bought some of their chocolate in San Francisco while attending the Fancy Food Show in January. I liked the style of the packaging and the bars paired really well with the red wines we were enjoying. Bingo! Call the boys up.
Anyway, I sent a few e-mails to the Brothers and never got replies. When I knew I would be going to the Brooklyn area, I decided to give them a call to set up a meeting. Fortunately, Rick Mast answered the phone. He happily pointed out that the shop is open on the weekends for tours, so I told him I’d be there.
While waiting for Rick to arrive, I sampled a bar that they were just starting to sell that day –> 81% with salt. The salt was not mixed in, but sprinkled on top of the handmade bar. Tasty!
Some of the photos of the Brothers (like this one from their site) make them seem very proper. What I encountered — with both the store itself and Rick — was very casual and open. Rick (on the left in the photo) is tall, slender, super nice and very easygoing. I would love to have time on my next trip to sit and have a drink (or two!) with the Brothers.
A wonderful thing about the Brooklyn scene is the camaraderie shared by the other business members of the community. Regardless of whether they sell kitchen goods, make cheese or own a restaurant they all notice the quality of the items each is producing. So they support each others efforts and cross promote and share ideas. How great is that? You know how I love to share :)
So Rick showed me around the place and I got to see how they make their chocolate from bean-to-bar. They currently use beans from Dominican Republic and Madagascar for all their bars. I asked if all of the bars are made directly from these beans? Rick answered yes.
While he showed us around, it brought to mind another micro-batch chocolate maker we carry, Colin Gasko of Rogue Chocolatier. He works in a very small space in MN –> just a few hundred square feet from what I’ve been told. I often wondered how he made such great bean-to-bar chocolate in so little space with all that chocolate-making equipment. I imagined him squeezing between big machines as they hummed along and spaces jammed with tools, packaging and other stuff. Well, now I understand it a little better. The process doesn’t require huge machines and can be done in a small space if needed. The space for Mast Brothers is not enormous, but allows for enough room to get the job done PLUS a little more for social space.
Join me in the next Mast Brothers post to see photos and more details of the process. If you are in the Brooklyn area, I suggest stopping by the Mast Brothers shop and taking a look-see for yourself. Until then, enjoy uncommonly delicious chocolate from Drexelius Chocolates today!
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