[infobox bg="bluelight" color="black" opacity="on" subtitle="Mast Brothers Chocolate"]Adventures in Culinary School[/infobox]
My experience yesterday at The International Culinary Center was nothing short of a blast. Along with my fellow Farm to Table classmates, I took the R train to the L to Williamsburg after school and landed in a a real life chocolate factory: Mast Brothers Chocolate. It was a tasty afternoon in Brooklyn to say the least.
We arrived unsure of what to expect. I didn't have any experience with chocolate making, and the "liquify" part of the process has always perplexed me a bit. The team at Mast Bros. were happy to walk us through the process during a tour of their beautiful facility and I quickly understood the process and why their chocolate is perhaps, a cut above the rest.
The Mast Brothers make small-batch chocolate to order. Their beans come from all over the world - 100 farms in total, from far-away lands like Madagascar and Papa New Guinea. They only use cocoa nibs and sugar to create their bars - no milk fat at all, which in turn draws upon an age-old process to liquify their nibs. First, the chocolatiers roast their beans.
They are then shelled, and the nibs are placed into stone grinders that almost immediately pulverize the nibs into liquid. They run on these grinders up to 72 hours, with some sugar being added to flavor and from there the chocolate is aged for a month to intensify the flavor.
Then, each batch is melted down and poured into the Mast Brothers mold, cooled quickly and packaged for your individual delight. It's a very basic and beautiful process as it turns out, and one that is similar to making wine or coffee in terms of the terroir and aging process affecting the flavor.
All in all, Mast Brothers Chocolate is a must-see if you're in Williamsburg. The smell alone when walking into the facility is enough to take a look inside to enjoy some delicious artisan chocolate. Yum!