Mast Brothers Chocolate: Swept Away by Tradition in Brooklyn [CLOSED]

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Chocolate Brooklyn

Rick Mast and brother Michael make chocolate in Brooklyn.

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.

Chocolate Shop Brooklyn

Their bare bones production facility features a single wood table with eight worn metal chairs.

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.

Chocolate Shop Brooklyn

A model sailing ship with multiple masts represents the brothers’ journey toward chocolate Nirvana.

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.

Chocolate Brooklyn

The brothers lined my favorite Mast chocolate bar with chopped Guatemalan Finca El Injerto coffee beans – gritty, with a bitter tinge – roasted at Stumptown Coffee‘s Red Hook roastery. The Brooklyn Blend combines Venezuelan, Dominican and majority Madagascar 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.

Cacao Brooklyn

Mast Brothers even add value on the back end, filling burlap sacks with residual husk. They provide a scooper in case anybody wants to score free mulch for their gardens.

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.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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