Visiting the Mast Brothers chocolate factory brought back a few memories. When I was a child, I had a few ideas about what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to “write a book”, be a chocolate taster or a spy. (At that time I didn’t know you could be a “writer”.) I gave up quite early on being a chocolate taster. In fact, it was when I learnt I would probably get fat eating too much chocolate. But that didn’t mean I would give up on chocolate.
Mast Brothers Williamsburg Store
Mast Brothers are a legend in New York and becoming one worldwide. You can find their products in Whole Foods in London and they also have a flagship store here. What you can’t do here is their chocolate tour. So when I heard about they do one in their shop in Brooklyn in New York, I knew I had to go.
This Is How You Make Chocolate
I took the tour with my friend Daniel, who is also a chocolate fan, but then – who’s not? The tickets are $10.00 and after the tour, you can use it as a credit towards your purchase. I thought that was a perfect deal. A part of the tour were chocolate tastings and of course, we could see all the equipment and processes for chocolate making.
Photography behind the front house were not allowed, so I’ll tell you briefly what you could learn and see. We got to see how cocoa pods look like and how they extract the beans from them. The beans go through a process of fermentation and then can be cleaned. This is you you can the cocoa nibs. Those when pressed give you cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Through the process of conching, stirring it at certain temperature, you get cocoa mass.
You can add powdered milk to the mass, or other ingredients such as infusions or even flaked salt for special flavour. (Chocolate doesn’t like anything water-based and that’s why they always add powdered milk.) Then the mass is heated up once again and filled into chocolate moulds. Here we go – this is how chocolate is made, explained very primitively.
My Mast Brothers Favourites
The store offers a lot of things to try and taste. From chocolate beer and chocolate cookies (they even have gluten-free ones) to chocolate bars, it’s hard to leave with just one thing! Daniel bought a chocolate cookie and said it was fantastic, although on the sweet/sugary side. I bought only chocolates and I loved how smooth it tasted. Their chocolate bars have a high chocolate percentage, usually around 50%. They have a “classic” milk chocolate bar, but also one with goat milk.
I loved the Maple Chocolate bar, because its sweetness had light caramel tones. They have one with almond butter which Daniel liked, but I said it was okay. I really loved their 73% Dark Chocolate, Coffee Chocolate and Mint Chocolate.
If you happen to be in Brooklyn, look no further than Mast Brothers. The tour is fun and informative, plus the chocolate tastings will keep your taste buds satisfied.