07 September 2011

the chocolate factory: a tour of mast bros.

One of the perks of my recent stint as a restaurant chef was being neighbors with Mast Brothers Chocolate. Located in the same building, we shared a common hallway where all of our respective staffs would tread to and from offices, kitchens, and tempering rooms. After working in a world where I was primarily working alone, or my main camaraderie came in the fom of  few minutes of chatting with nannies and housekeepers, it was fun to get to know the faces, names, and good vibes behind a local artisan chocolate company I have supported (even if only in spirit) since it was just the two brothers producing luscious bean-to-bar chocolate out of their apartment.  (And meeting the two brothers was akin to meeting celebrities for me, though be proud, I totally kept my cool).

We set up a tour of the chocolate factory for the kitchen staff and any front of house staff who wanted in. So a few of us got to take a peek behind closed doors at Mast Bros. and see where all the magic happens. We saw how the process works from roasting, winnowing, grinding, tempering, and molding-- ending of course in a tasting of several of their beautifully paper-wrapped luscious, not-too-sweet, organic dark chocolate bars. My favorites are the Venezuela Grand Cru 74% (made from a very special cacao bean!), Serrano Pepper (a great heat without being overpowering), and Pecan & Maple (a good mix of my Texas upbringing and Northeastern living).

Even though I am admittedly not a huge chocolate person (gasp!), I always love seeing how things are produced, and I was thrilled to get a view of their relatively small operations before they expand into a huge space a few doors down in the coming months. And let me tell you, these guys are having a blast while they're making this chocolate-- whooping sounds of joy and loud fun music could be heard in the hall almost every day, they have parties in the shop at least once a month, and they have friendly chocolate-related competitions among the staff every month or so. That's my kind of place. And hey, chocolate or otherwise, food always tastes better if you know who grew it, made it, and cared about it from start to finish.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...