I had a fantastic and sweet time (literally) touring the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last week!
A handful of bloggers and I were invited on the tasty adventure by Gilt City. We had a great time getting a behind-the-scenes look into what goes into making chocolate bars and learned a lot along the way!
They’re currently selling tours of the factory with up to 60% off in credits to spend at the boutique! (Read more about this offer here. It’s a deal that only runs until 9/1!)
I knew that touring a chocolate factory would include a lot of delicious sampling, but I had no idea how much health-conscious thinking and planning went into the process at Mast. Two brothers (hence the name) founded the company that is now known for making gourmet chocolate with extreme attention to detail, incredible craftsmanship, and artisanal bean-to-bar flavors.
Upon our arrival, our group was warmly greeted by Pamela, the retail assistant manager. When everyone was ready to go – hairnets on – she and the general manager, Diana, kicked things off with the story behind the name and origin. I enjoyed seeing pictures of the brothers and finding out that they are actually chefs who fell in love with chocolate.
They had a goal of making it with as little ingredients as possible (six or less!), and our tour took us through every step of the process, starting with the chocolate cocoa plant itself. Have you ever seen a cocoa plant?
The center actually has a fruit-like taste, similar to lychee with a bitter, chocolate aftertaste. We were shown how they grind cocoa nibs, and it was interesting to hear that the inside of the shell houses 1/2 cocoa solid and 1/2 cocoa butter.
When it’s time to make the chocolate, it takes about 3-5 hours just to grind the cocoa nibs before anything else it added. The rest of the ingredients are added to these giant grinders next, and the whole process takes about 48 hours. After it’s done grinding, it’s transferred to a tin and solidifies from the outside in. This takes about a day!
(Each one of these blocks holds about 50 pounds of chocolate. Whoa!)
We were offered plenty of chocolate samples throughout the tour, and they were all so, so good. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but if I had to, it would be the flavors from the herbal line, specifically Lavender.
Surprisingly enough, Lavender is one of the best sellers, followed by Sage.
The entire tour took about an hour, and we finished things off with a sample of the chocolate beer. It’s non-alcoholic, and incredibly flavorful. I loved it!
I don’t know how I did it, but I only left with a goody bag that included a sample pack. I could have easily dropped a good chunk of change on some of those decadent flavors!
All of the bars come packaged in funky wrapping paper. I thought that was a neat touch, and I enjoyed photographing them!
Right now they are selling the 2016 collection, but the 2017 line is projected to launch early-fall. There are currently six dark, six milk, and six herbal flavors.
If you’re interested in trying a bar for yourself, Mast Chocolate is sold online, in Mast store locations (Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and London), Whole Foods, Shake Shack, and specialty stores. The tour was very informative (and yummy!), and I would love to come back and have Scott sample more flavors with me.
I’m sure we won’t be leaving as empty handed next time. 😉
Thanks so much for having us, Mast!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever been on a factory tour?
• What is your favorite flavor of chocolate?
I’ve always been a sucker for mint chocolate. I didn’t try any on this tour, but I didn’t miss it, either. Sea salt or some kind of almond is a close second, and I’m a fan of anything involving caramel!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary tour of Mast Chocolate Factory, thanks to Gilt City. While I was not compensated for this review, I was asked to share my my experience on the tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own.