I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mast Brothers Chocolate

Straight up Amish Beards. Picture via SeriousEats

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Having a chocolate box is normal.

I did not actually use a razor and shave until the tender age of 23. I am currently 24 years old. I am quite envious of people that can grow glorious beards and mustaches; I AM TALKING TO YOU TOM SELLECK. I am envious of people such as the Mast Brothers that have the ability to grow insane facial hair and make tasty, quality food. Besides the ability to grow Amish-like beards, they produce high quality chocolate bars. Boasting to be American Craft Chocolate, Mast Brothers Chocolate is based out of Brooklyn and are making and packaging their chocolates by hand ensuring the high quality chocolate. I recently was able to try two of their chocolate bars: the Dominican Republic and Hazelnut. 

The Dominican Republic is a 74% cacao dark chocolate bar. It is a single origin cacao and according to the label, it is specifically from, “La Red de Guaconejo, a groundbreaking cooperative in the northern highlands of the Dominican Republic”. In more simple terms, 74% of the chocolate bar is pure coca from the Dominican Republic. 

The craft and labor in this bar is obvious just from the appearance. The bar has a smooth, glossy finish and is free of any air bubbles, which is a sign of stringent quality control. The bar has a clean, crisp break, a further sign of quality. The taste is complex and definitely not Nestle Toll House Chocolate. I do not dance, but this bar does what I think is a tag team tango in your mouth. The first taste to hit is a deep taste of berries. However, right after that, a subtle sweet bitterness like smoking a smooth maduro (the black looking ones) cigar, and for shits and giggles comparison, like Padron Maduro, torpedo of course. For those that have not smoked a cigar, the chocolate has a subtle bitterness that hits the back of the mouth that wakens the taste buds. With that subtle bitter, it also comes with an underlying sweetness which has a complexity like no other, especially in a chocolate bar. However after this complex subtle tobacco taste, the berry comes back for attention just before the chocolate dissolves in your mouth.

The Hazelnut I chose at random to try just because my mind automatically connects, chocolate + hazelnut = Nutella = Yes. Yet to compare this bar to tasting like Nutella is insulting to the Mast Brothers. Like the Dominican Republic, the physical quality of the chocolate bar was of the highest standards and had all the signs of a quality chocolate. The bar is riddled with hazelnuts. The bar is unique in which the chocolate and hazelnuts are not muddled together; both flavors have a distinct and clean taste with each bite. The chocolate does not have the tag team complexity of the Dominican but can hold its own with its smooth floral sweetness and hint of bitterness from the 74% cacao grade. The hazelnuts provide a great meatiness with a hint of salt to the bar completing a perfect pairing. 

The bars are not cheap; however you are paying for a quality product that has been painstakingly produced. The Mast Brothers have limited choices and only produce chocolate bars however they do it well. Anyone that claims that they are a true chocolate lover should try at least one of their single origins bars and if you are in the NYC area, they offer tours of their factory and shop. Labeling themselves as being American Craft Chocolate is no gimmick catch line once you bite into one of their chocolates. 

Mast Brothers Chocolate 
105 North 3rd Street
NY 11211-3927

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