Mast Brothers Off Course

The Mast Brothers of Brooklyn have been on my radar for a while.  I searched out and tasted their chocolate bars in January 2009 while at a show in San Francisco.  I knew I’d be in New York for another show so I put it on my To-Do List -> “Meet Mast Brothers.”  I visited the Mast Brothers shop in Brooklyn and met Rick Mast who showed me their chocolate making process (read the intro post here and chocolate making post here).  The bars were changing because the Brothers were trying new methods and techniques.  I tried to get Mast Brothers into my lineup, but they said they were behind in production and would need a few months to catch up before adding any more accounts.  The chocolate was different than the first time I tried it and I decided it would be better to wait.  If the chocolate would be constantly changing, who is to say I would like the outcome?

As time has passed, the Mast Brothers have been showing up in random reviews and articles.  On my most recent trip to New York I made another visit to the Mast Brothers shop.  I didn’t call ahead this time and decided just to stop in to taste the chocolate.  It was unfortunate that neither brother was there, but I got a chance to taste a couple of their current bars.  First up, we tried a 70% Dominican Republic chocolate with almonds, sea salt and olive oil.  Hefty almond chunks are sprinkled on one side of the bar.  The chocolate bar looks great and the chocolate was nice and creamy, but nothing extraordinary.  I couldn’t taste the chocolate over the olive oil, which was a dominant flavor.

Many of the bars are Dominican beans so we searched out another bean.  Next up was a 72% Madagascar chocolate with coffee beans added.  Madagascar beans are known for their fruitiness, which you could taste this bar.  Pairing bright, fruity chocolate with coffee was not good for me or my taste buds.  Bad match, boys.

All in all, this trip to the shop solidified something for me -> the Mast Brothers are off course.  Let’s review:

  • bearded, hip owners – check
  • pretty paper packaging – check
  • interesting flavors – check
  • mediocre chocolate – check

They are taking a lot of time and effort to roast, grind, winnow, etc, etc to get a handmade chocolate.  Two things:  1) the chocolate is not incredible enough to stand on its own and 2)  they overwhelm the chocolate when pairing it with other ingredients.  The pretty packaging is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything once you get down to the bar.  What happens in your mouth is where it counts.

Mast Brothers should fix their compass to help guide them back on course.  They go through  the process of making chocolate bars and fancy packaging, but leave the overall taste of the chocolate as an afterthought.  Oh well, I won’t lower my standards just because their chocolate has pretty paper.  I have plenty of incredibly delicious chocolate to enjoy until Mast Brothers decide to make good chocolate, too.  Keep checking back here if you are looking for honest updates on the Mast Brothers chocolate bars (or any chocolate for that matter).  Until then enjoy these uncommonly delicious chocolates from Drexelius Chocolates:

    Dolfin Dark with Grilled Almonds – blending made delicious (buy the Dolfin bar here).
    Rogue Sambirano – handmade chocolate that really stands on its own (buy the Rogue bar here).
    Amano Dos Rios – surprise your senses with this bold chocolate (buy the Amano bar here).

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2 Responses to Mast Brothers Off Course

  1. Lowe says:

    I really enjoyed Mast Brothers Brooklyn Blend, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela bars at the end of 2010. I rated them all 9 or above (out of 10). In this post you only mentioned bars with inclusions not any of their unflavored dark chocolate bars. Of course tastes do vary, so these are merely my preferences.

    • The Mast Brothers seem to be constantly changing their blend so it very well could be that you tried bars at the end of 2010 and had different chocolate than I tried earlier that summer. When I tried their chocolate way back I really liked it and tried to bring it on board, but they were not able to ship me any due to other commitments. Unfortunately, I haven’t really liked any other batches. Maybe this year will be different? We’ll see!

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