On Valentine’s Day this year a deliciously cool slab of Brooklyn landed in its equally cool counterpart in London – Shoreditch.
Any design aficionados and foodies amongst you could not have missed the mention of the Mast Brothers on the blogosphere – craft chocolate from Brooklyn made by the brothers with the beards – with exciting flavours like Maple, Sea Salt, Chilli Pepper and packaging to die for. The abstract graphics alone which enrobe the bars by menswear designer Nathan Warkentin have reached cult status.
Last week on a searing hot London day – I was given a tour of the new store seamlessly slotted into Redchurch Street, nestled between the coolest haunts in town, The Boundary Hotel next door and Shoreditch House across the street.
A slick and minimal concrete space, it combines a gallery-esque shop, a chocolate ‘bar’ and the chocolate factory where customers can watch the magic happening through Brooklyn style warehouse windows.
Before my visit – I was sent off with an urgent request from one of my friends living in New York – ‘Find out why it’s so expensive!’ At £8 a bar it’s certainly not cheap. An educating hour later and a tour round the factory showed me exactly why the bars were priced such. A ‘bean to bar production’ the beans are:
- Hand sorted on arrival from their country of origin. This includes the Dominican Republic, Venezuala, Madagascar and Peru.
- Roasted with different roasting profiles for each source.
- The beans are then cracked with a simple cracking device – then the nibs are separated from the shell using a hand turned ‘winnowing’ machine.
- They are then hand sorted for extra assurance.
- The nibs are then ground in stone grinders for two to three days breaking the beans down into creamy goodness [see images below as examples of this delicious change in state].
- Cane sugar is added but no other oils or emulsifiers. At this stage any flavours like the chilli pepper and coffee beans are added.
- The chocolate ages or rests for up to three months.
- Then it is tempered and at this stage any bigger ingredients like in the Sea Salt or Almonds are added.
- The chocolate is poured into moulds
- Finally the bars are hand-wrapped.
When the minimum 40-days involved in making each bar is explained and the care taken to ensure deliciousness then £8 suddenly doesn’t seem too much…
The brand is also a pioneer in chocolate drinks, which are offered at the chocolate bar. Try their Brewed Chocolate, using house-roasted cocoa beans and served either hot or cold and new non-alcoholic Chocolate Beer, plus as a snack sourdough bread with chocolate spread!
MAST BROTHERS CHOCOLATE
19-29 Redchurch St, London E2 7DJ
020 7739 1236
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org