I opened the door to Mast Brothers Chocolate and smelled a deep cocoa aroma. The store is designed industrially. There is a long wooden table where chocolate bars wrapped in different patterned paper are laid out for sale. The cocoa nibs bar is wrapped in caramel brown paper with flowers on it. The Brooklyn Blend has cream paper with red and blue anchors. Each bar has a description that includes where the cocoa comes from and its flavor notes. There are free samples of the Origin Collection Bars, which are frequently replenished. There are cookbooks, which are nice to flip through while nibbling your Madagascar tasting. The chocolate’s journey and how it’s made is written on the wall. The store is like an adult Willy Wonka factory. The chocolate is made in the back and you can watch the hipster chocolatiers working. If you find yourself at North 3rd street and Berry, be sure to stop in during their happy hour for some free hot chocolate. Call ahead to find out what time it is.
While I was waiting for happy hour to begin, Rick Mast was in the store and answered a few of my questions. I had to paraphrase because I didn’t have my recorder with me.
How did you get started?
Rick: We started off in our apartment making beer and pickling different things. Later on we started making chocolate and began to sell it at farmers markets. It sold out immediately.
Do you have a personal favorite?
Rick: I love them all but I have to say Madagascar because we’re really close with the supplier.
Can you tell me about the 70ft schooner?
Rick: I want to use the boat more and more to support sustainability efforts because wind is free.
(The schooner is used to collect Mast Brothers cocoa beans)