While upending the shelves at Stone Barns for new treasure, I stumbled across a Mast Brothers chocolate bar flecked with almonds. And sea salt! I have an underdeveloped sweet-tooth but an overdeveloped salt-tooth, so this discovery thrilled me to the core. (What an ideal snack for a lazy Friday autumn-birthday afternoon!)
As revealed in our prior interview with the Mast brothers, the brothers pride themselves on their handmade chocolates, with beans sourced from farms throughout the southern latitudes. The brothers clean, sort, roast, and refine the cacao beans in small batches themselves. They also develop the flavor profiles, making the bars from a tiny kitchen in Brooklyn. Finally, they hand-wrap and Scotch-tape the pretty bars shut. The whole operation is charmingly understated. And the clean geometries of their patterned papers hold exquisite appeal.
But the taste? What about the taste? The shingles of salt are crisp and fun, but the almonds are more decorative than delicious.
Moreover, the chocolate is wooden in flavor and reveals little when warmed on the tongue. Like the mouth-drying I feel when eating Scharffen Berger, the sensation is slightly astringent. The Mast Brothers' chocolate is a more Germanic take; it doesn't bloom nor linger in the mouth the way a French or Belgian indulgence might.
The bar would make a good gift for a friend with aesthetic leanings and will please those who prefer straightforward flavors. While I didn't find it especially tasty, it is tasteful. It is, appreciably, a smart-looking bar.
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Available at the following locations:
Marlow & Sons; 81 Broadway, Brooklyn NY 11211
Spuyten Duyvil Grocery; 218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211
Stone Barns; 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills NY 10591
Urban Rustic; 236 North 12th Street, Brooklyn NY 11211
Artists & Fleas; 129 N 6th St, Brooklyn NY 11211 Rubiner's Cheesemongers; 264 Main Road, Great Barrington MA 01230
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