Mast Bros Chocolate Tour

So, maybe not everybody knows this about me, but I probably go crazy one day out of the week where I get super diligent about maintaining a social life and so I sit and plan out things I want to do for the next half-month so I’ll ALWAYS something to do. So about two months ago, I found out that the Mast Bros were finally restarting their factory tours and bought a couple tix for R. and me.

To be honest, I’m not all that crazy about chocolate, but I saw this video of the brothers about a year or two ago and keep coming across their fancy bars around Brooklyn. It was worth it! The tour was fun and I totally dig their small batch, sustainable agriculture philosophy…

First sad realization: no oompa loompas here 😦    It’s just a dude, sorting the good beans from the bad. Are you a good bean? 

The sorted beans are poured into a machine that crushes them and spins the mash to separate the lighter husk from the heavier nib. I only brought my prime lens for this tour so this was the best shot I could get of the machine.

Cacao nibs

the machine separates the nibs from the crushed beans, here are all the husks collected in a big bin. These get used from anything like making beer, as compost, or even chocolate "tea". The guys at Mast Bros gave me a big bag of these as a freebie!

The nibs are then carried over to a room full of grinding machines like these, where they're poured in and ground between two stone wheels. They're carefully tasted and tested for consistency. The process takes takes 2 days. The room is temperature controlled and sealed.

grinding away..

until it looks smooth like this.

Now the aging process begins

Some get aged for a couple months, others up to a year. Apparently the timing really does depend on the kind of bar they're trying to produce, and they do a lot of experimenting. This vat here is the oldest still aging - the white stuff on the surface is cocoa butter that has floated to the top (not mold!)

You know, I'm not even crazy about chocolate but damn this looks fine.

Bigger bars for baking and for restaurants. I believe these have a higher cocoa content.

Lastly, these bars are wrapped up and boxed up in beautiful papers and labels.

And then it was snack time 🙂

They make other things at the factory too, like cookies and cakes.

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