Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour (Blogger Edition)

Last week I lived out my childhood fantasy of starring in Diana and the Chocolate Factory. My version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Just kidding. But I did visit a chocolate factory for real. And thought about diving into a vat of liquid chocolate a la Augustus Gloop. I guess this is interesting timing since I just blogged about Willy Wonka earlier this week. Just works out that way sometimes, eh? Anywho, Gilt City invited a group of bloggers to a private tour of the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory. I happily accepted and attended with fellow bloggers Alanna, Ashley, Christine, and Heather. Along with Jourdann of Gilt City. You may remember them from that delicious dinner at La Palapa. For now, here are my photos from the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

The Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I passed so many cute shops, coffee houses, and restaurants. It’s fun part of town. Date night with dinner and chocolate would be perfect.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was how amazing it smelled. You can’t help but smile and find your head tilting up with a silly grin. Inside they have chocolate bars on display as well as an area where you can purchase hot chocolate, chocolate beer, and other goodies. There’s a little table where you can sit down if you want to take a quick chocolate break while you’re in the area.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour (Blogger Edition)

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

Our tour was led by Diana (general manager) and Pamela (assistant retail manager). Diana kicked us off by telling the story of how Mast Brothers got started. The brothers actually started right here in Williamsburg. There was no artisan chocolate at the time, and they wanted to make it happen. When they started, they made 50 bars of chocolate and sold them at the Artisan Flea. Diana asked us to guess how many were purchased. I said 50. The answer? 17.

Mast Brothers incorporated in 2007 and built their first factory in 2008. Since then they’ve opened more factories in NYC as well as LA and London.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

After learning about the brothers, we learned more about the chocolate from Pamela. Mast Brothers source their beans from all over the world. Above is what the chocolate starts from. That reddish object is one cocoa pod. One of these babies makes approximately one medium-sized chocolate bar. Go ahead, just gnaw on the end a little to get your chocolate fix.

Just kidding.

Inside the pod are they cocoa beans. They’re definitely not what I expected them to look like. We got to eat one of these little white beans. They started sweet and fruity and grew bitter as you continued to eat. Apparently, as they’re taken through the process, the white part melts off leaving the brown bean. The chocolate flavor comes out while being fermented.

The beans are dried, packed, and sent to Brooklyn where they’re manually-sorted. Not all chocolate producers do manual sorting, but Mast Brothers really focuses on delivering top quality.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

Here are some of the dried cocoa beans. We each got one and crushed it in our hand. The matte part was the shell. Cracking the bean reveals a shiny cocoa nib. These are actually good for you! I used to keep cacao nibs on hand as a healthy addition to my morning oatmeal.

I read online that the difference between “cocoa nibs” and “cacao nibs” is that cocoa nibs typically have sugar (and other ingredients) added. Since these were straight from the bean, I’m thinking they’re “cacao” nibs, which are the healthier type. I took my notes from the verbal presentation, so I may have noted them incorrectly. I should have asked at the tour, but I figured I’d research it later. Either way, I’ve loved cacao nibs for a long time.

{Ashley and me}

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

We got to taste a spoon of this in-progress chocolate. It’s already good, even early on.

The chocolate starts with two ingredients: cocoa nibs and sugar. The above photo shows what these two ingredients start to look like when they’re taking their turn in the grinder. Want to guess how long they grind?

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

48 hours!

The chocolate is poured into metal containers and then wrapped up for later.

The Mast Brothers want to treat their chocolate like food, not candy. So it’s actually aged in this room.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

The chocolate is next broken into untempered chocolate, which has this sort of white-looking outside. To get it looking like the chocolate we all know and love, the untempered chocolate is melted.

Enter my Augustus moment.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

Ok, it’s not a river of chocolate, but I still thought about diving in. Anywho, the spout is actually for filling the chocolate trays that form the final chocolate form.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour


Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

And now the real tasting begun. We got to sample some of their single origin chocolate bars. These are chocolate bars made with cocoa beans from the same place. These bars are actually not available for purchase. You can only eat them on the tour.

What was really interesting about tasting these bars is how distinct the flavors were, just from the beans. Some tasted like blood orange (Madagascar) while others tasted like apple, lager, and rye (Tanzania). We also got to sample some of the flavored bars of chocolate. As I mentioned on Instagram, my faves were coffee chocolate and thyme chocolate. So good!

Word on the street is that the 2017 chocolate collection is in the works and will be released this fall. Rumor has it they may be available as early as September, but don’t quote me!

Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour

I had such a great time on this tour. I love seeing how much work goes into a product. It really makes you appreciate the end product that much more. I saw Mast Brothers chocolate in the grocery store today, and the pretty packaging made me smile. Thank you Gilt City and Mast Brothers for this sweet treat!

Get Your Chocolate Tour

If you’re in the NYC area, you can get this tour and chocolate for a great deal through this Gilt City offer. There are packages for 2 or 4 people. And I swear I read this wrong, but I read it about five times. Each person gets $20 worth of chocolate. The tour for only 2 people is $29. Someone tell me I’m seeing things!

The deal will not be available after 10am tomorrow, September 1, 2016. If you purchase it in time, you can enjoy your tour till November 18, 2016.

If you want the deal for free, Ashley is giving away $50 to Gilt City on her blog. Click here to check out the contest!

Teaching Zumba in NYC?

Also if you’re in the NYC area, I’m planning to teach a special, charity Zumba / fitness class on Sunday, September 11. September 10 is my 10 year blogiversary, and I want to do something fun to celebrate. I thought it would be cool to teach Zumba, but instead of keeping the money, I’d rather use this opportunity to raise money for a good cause! Stay tuned for details and pencil me in!


Thanks for reading my post about the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour (Blogger Edition)

Disclaimer: This tour was covered by Gilt City, but all opinions are my own.

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