Prior to the 20th Century, masts towered over choppy seas to propel ships on transatlantic voyages. Brothers Rick and Michael Mast clearly can’t harness as much energy as bygone sailing ships, but what the Iowa natives have accomplished in the past four years has still managed to impress food loving New Yorkers. The Masts started making chocolate out of their apartment, graduated to a Greenpoint studio and now have Williamsburg shop and production facility under the Mast Brothers Chocolate brand. Their small-batch chocolate has earned loyal devotees, with good reason.
Sacks of raw cacao – in this case from Los Pajones de Nagua in the Dominican Republic – add visual flavor to the main room before they’re eventually processed.
The base for Mast Brothers Chocolate is a 72% cacao, grown in Madagascar’s Sambirano Valley, but they experiment with other fair trade cacao, which is all roasted, cracked and winnowed in house. Plates of samples reside in display cases, resting on raw cacao.
Mast Brothers also produce an amazing Dominican dark chocolate bar that benefits from crushed almonds and sea salt.
Bars cost $7, Grand Cru $9, chocolate chips for $15 and cocoa nibs for $9, which seems reasonable considering the quality level and attention to detail.
Since my visit coincided with a holiday blizzard, the chocolatier was low on certain varieties, which was fine. That just means a return trip is in order.
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