I spent a magical day in Brooklyn that started with a tour of The Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory, recently named “best new American chocolate” by Food and Wine Magazine; a sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with
Chocolate bars wrapped in paper designed by friends and family – the wrappers are truly a work of art, I saved all of mine – too pretty to throw away
one of my favorite bars: Dark Chocolate with Fleur de Sel
The hand-wrapping process by the friendly and helpful staff
The finished chocolate bars wrapped in gold
A freshly roasted cocoa bean
Pouring the chocolate into molds
The display case at the front of the store
My last trip to NYC was very special, one that I will never forget. Despite the ever-present snow, chilly winds, and dreary skies I felt truly happy:
The exquisite care The Mast Brothers and their team take to craft their chocolate is inspiring and rare: from careful roasting to develop flavors, painstaking winnowing (chaff removal from beans), aging, gentle and capricious tempering, to hand-wrapping the chocolate. I learned during the tour about their dedication to allow the individual nuanced flavors of the regional beans to come through in the final product by crafting chocolate from single farms or provinces. To this end, their chocolate base only has two products: cacao and cane sugar – no emulsifiers, no additional oils, no preservatives – resulting in an incredibly refined end product with subtle and unique flavor profiles, much like a fine wine. Their attention to detail also translates to the wrappers, each unique and beautifully designed by their friends and family. My favorite one is the intricately gilded pink wrapper for Valentines Day that enveloped the exquisite Dark Chocolate + Black Truffles & Sea Salt bar.
Since coming home with my favorite selections (Dark Chocolate + Fleur de Sel, Dark Chocolate + Black Truffles & Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs) I have developed a daily ritual. At the end of the day I sit down in a quiet place, brake off a piece of the chocolate, carefully rest it on my tongue, and allow it to slowly melt in my mouth – the slight citrus and berry notes melt slowly and develop into nutty complex flavors. It’s better than a glass of wine, and for me carries memories of an unforgettable trip.