Friday, June 10, 2016

MAST MARKET

Visit us at our LA location for our very first MAST Market. This Wednesday and continuing the third Wednesday of every month.

Monday, May 30, 2016

INSTYLE

We Just Found Your Go-To Hostess Gift for Summer ... and It's Chocolate!

By Leigh Gotzmer


It's rare that food packaging is so stunning that it makes you stop and stare before tearing into the presumably delicious contents inside, but such is the case for Mast Brothers' new line of confections. The Brooklyn-based chocolatier just debuted their new sea salt bar collection, which is dressed up in artfully created, colorful wrappers made by Brooklyn-based wallpaper brand Calico Wallpaper.



The coolest part of this collaboration may be that the ethereal yet complex designs are all made using watercolors and the chocolate's star ingredient—salt. Calico founders Rachel and Nick Cope say they came up with this technique organically while doing a preliminary tasting: "We had the revelation, let's work with the very salt that is in each new chocolate to create the patterns! Each of the twelve bars has a special blend of salt and that respective salt interacted with the pigments that Rachel used in a 'resist process,'" Nick explains. Every wrapper is different, and meant to represent the flavor profile of the chocolate inside.

The collection's bold new flavors include Bali Reef, Birch Smoke, Black Diamond, Black Truffle, Chili, Maldon, Peppercorn, Sel Gris, Sicilian Coast, Tahitian Vanilla, and Tangelo and Thyme, making the treats intriguing inside and out. These may look too pretty to eat, but they're definitely too tasty to pass up.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WALLPAPER

Empire Rising: Mast Brothers opens a mammoth factory/boutique in LA

By Pei-Ru-Ke 




Nothing seems to quite stand in the way of the expansion of the Mast Brothers empire. Earlier this month, the craft-oriented chocolatiers opened a mammoth new facility in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, which touts a factory, brewery and boutique all in one.
Weighing in at 6,000 sq ft, the flagship is the company’s largest space to date and will showcase its chocolate making and brewing processes for all to see. In addition to watching the magic take place, visitors can also enjoy beverages such as cold and hot brewed chocolate and chocolate beer, confections featuring an array of locally sourced ingredients, pastries and, of course, the beautifully packaged chocolate bars themselves.
Founder Rick Mast says, ‘LA might be my favorite place on earth. I used to live here and am thrilled to be back with many of my closest friends. The creative communities in the Arts District are extremely inspiring, and we look forward to being a part of it through partnerships and collaborations with locally based companies across the arts, culinary and hospitality sectors. We can’t wait to make chocolate from scratch in Los Angeles for Los Angeles.’
The West Coast location has been designed by Rick Mast and in-house creative director Nathan Warkentin. Paying homage to the location’s industrial locale, the minimalist space makes reference to Donald Judd in its interior design and product displays.
Co-founder Michael Mast adds, ‘We want everyone to come, learn about the process, eat and drink chocolate, and have a great time doing so.’


Monday, May 16, 2016

DEZEEN

Calico Wallpaper uses salt to pattern chocolate packaging for Mast Brothers



"Unexpectedly, it was during the tasting that we had the revelation – let's work with the very salt that is in the chocolate and use this material to create the patterns," said Nick. "The effect is at once ethereal and dynamic."


Thursday, May 5, 2016

LAIST

The Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory And Shop Opens In The Arts District

By Danny Jensen

Brooklyn-based chocolate makers and brothers Rick and Michael Mast are set to open their flagship bean-to-bar factory and shop in L.A. this Saturday.
The Mast Brothers Chocolate space in the Arts District will offer visitors a chance to see their entire chocolate making process, as well as purchase their artfully-wrapped craft chocolate, as well as confections made with local ingredients and more. They'll even be pouring a unique, non-alcoholic beer they'll be brewing on-site.
"We always dreamt of expanding out to L.A.," Rick Mast, who lived in Long Beach for several years before moving to New York, tells LAist. "These days there's such an inspiring creative and food scene going on in L.A. that it's just an amazing opportunity to be a part of it. Just to be close to it and participate in it is really exciting."
While Mast Brothers bars can be found in shops around L.A., the new space will offer Angelenos the chance to pick-up their full line-up of bars in a variety of sizes, which includes creative flavors like sheep milk, olive oil and smoke. The factory will also eventually produce flavors unique to Los Angeles, as well as freshly baked pastries and confections using locally-sourced ingredients and partnerships with other local producers, including breweries. "There are twelve different ganaches inside of our signature cubes that are all localized to Los Angeles and only available there," Mast explains. "We'll use ingredients we've picked up from local markets, lemons, cilantro, a lot of unique things, so that you can taste the area."
The Arts District location is the company's third factory, following New York and London, and by far their biggest at 6,000-square feet. "We don't have another space like it, it's really a one-of-a-kind," Rick explains. Brightly-flooded with natural light during the day, the factory itself is a sight to behold for visitors who can tour the space. Partly inspired by artist Donald Judd's cube installations in Marfa, Texas, the factory features five massive cubes. Each cube contains a different part of the chocolate making process, where visitors can peer inside through large windows like a living museum to watch each step from bean to bar.
The cubes also double as a way to control temperature during each phase, as Mast explains:
Chocolate is a temperamental thing and you're in the hot California sun in downtown, so the first thing you have to solve is climate control. And the solution to that dictated the design, which are these five modules that are each climate controlled to their own purpose. And it's such a great way to learn and experience how chocolate is made in this really precise, visually dynamic way, which I think is pretty exciting for people to go and check out.
The last cube in the line-up will be used both for hand-wrapping the chocolate bars, as well as producing their chocolate beer. Three fermentation tanks will be used—one for a sweet brew, one bitter and one seasonal—to cold-brew roasted cacao beans in water, which is then carbonated with carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The non-alcoholic beer will be available on tap at the factory and eventually be available on draught and in bottles around L.A. "It gives me the same kind of sense of excitement as when we first started making chocolate," Mast says of the brewing. "It feels like you're reintroducing what chocolate as a beverage can be and I think we're just on the tip of the iceberg of what we can do."
Tours of the factory will be offered every hour on the hour for $5, and include a chocolate tasting at the end. All of the proceeds from the tours for the first three months will go to School on Wheels, a local charity supporting educating homeless youth. After that, a portion of the proceeds will be donated.
"Last year, just in New York and London, we welcomed over 100,000 visitors to see how we make our chocolate," Rick says. "With L.A. it's going to be even more amazing to expose an entire city to how our chocolate is made."


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NY TIMES

Presidential Debate Stage in Brooklyn Reflects Changing Economy

By Patrick McGeehan




When Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take the stage in Brooklyn on Thursday for their ninth Democratic presidential primary debate, they will stand amid a shining example of how the American economy has been reshaped in their lifetimes. 

The site, the Duggal Greenhouse, once thrummed with workers assembling components for the most sophisticated warships in the world. Now, it is a clean, well-lighted space rented out to investment banks and pop stars. BeyoncĂ© and Madonna have rehearsed there. 

From a distance, that evolution may seem like another attempt to put lipstick on a fading industrial legacy. But upon closer inspection, the Greenhouse is part of a concerted effort by New York City officials and a collection of entrepreneurs to revive a historic hub of American enterprise: the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The 215-year-old Navy Yard was the birthplace of some of the nation’s most celebrated and ill-fated military ships, including the U.S.S. Missouri and the U.S.S. Arizona. At its peak, during World War II, it employed about 70,000 people.

Today, only about 7,000 people work at the city-owned Navy Yard. But officials say that number could increase to 17,000 in four years, with the help of growing companies like Russ & Daughters and Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers.  


On Tuesday, Rick Mast, the chief executive of Mast Brothers, stood inside a vast, empty structure in the center of the Navy Yard, giggling with anticipation. He and his brother, Michael, had just taken over a 65,000-square-foot space that they said would become the headquarters and primary factory for their business.

Rick Mast said they planned to double their work force to about 150 people after they move into the Navy Yard next year from their base of operations nearby. They expect to hire 100 people within three years to make, package, sell and ship chocolate from the renovated building.


“The opportunity to grow in Brooklyn in a spectacular space like this, that’s huge for us,” Mr. Mast said, looking up at a vestige of the space’s shipbuilding past, an overhead crane capable of hoisting 10 tons.


The chocolate factory will abut the future home of another company founded in Williamsburg, a coffee company called Brooklyn Roasting. A short walk away, teams of construction workers are turning the cavernous ground floor of a hulking building into a food-manufacturing hub that will be anchored by Russ & Daughters, a century-old purveyor of smoked fish, bagels and babka.


Russ & Daughters will occupy about a quarter of the hub’s 66,000 square feet to bake, pickle and fill orders from across the country and, eventually, overseas, said Niki Russ Federman, one of the owners. Ms. Federman said the space, like those of the other future tenants of the food hub, would include a retail shop.


The 300-acre Navy Yard is surrounded by guarded gates, and the absence of a place to buy lunch inside is one of the most common complaints of the people who work there. Among the planned additions is the first Wegman’s grocery store in New York City.


“The more good people and delicious food there is in one place, the more of a draw it’s going to be,” said Ms. Federman, who added that she had suggested some prospective tenants to the landlord, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.


In turn, Ms. Federman said she had received help finding new employees through the employment center that the development corporation runs. “We’ve already hired a number of people through the Navy Yard, and we’re not even there yet,” she said.


The city is contributing about $80 million of the $185 million in planned upgrades to the food-hub building, and plans to spend an additional $30 million rebuilding a collapsed pier near the Greenhouse that will be the base for a citywide ferry service championed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The de Blasio administration has taken up the city’s commitment to revitalizing the Navy Yard, which was a keystone of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s economic-development strategy.


“We are actually making things here,” said Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development.


As Ms. Glen looked out from a high floor in one of the yard’s buildings at working dry docks and structures in various states of repair, she rattled off a list of products being made or designed at the site, not all of them edible. “These are good jobs that people thought were lost to New York forever,” she said.


Among the more ambitious tenants is Edward Jacobs, whose company, FXE Industries, is building a prototype of motorcycles it hopes to mass-produce in the Navy Yard. The group has just three employees now, but would need many more to produce the “thousands of bikes” Mr. Jacobs dreams of.


“We believe that there is value in keeping everything close by,” he said, adding that being in Brooklyn exposes entrepreneurs to many different perspectives.


Until more of the buildings are renovated or new ones are built, the Navy Yard is fully occupied. But some prominent companies are considering taking space there some day, including Brooklyn Brewery.


Steve Hindy, the chairman and co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery, said the company’s formerly scruffy neighborhood in Williamsburg had filled with hotels and clubs that were able to afford higher rents than a manufacturer could.


“The Navy Yard is an incredible success story and an example to be copied around the country,” Mr. Hindy said. “It offers the kind of long-term home that any industrial business would embrace.”


He said he would not be attending the debate but would be delivering some Brooklyn beer to a neighboring building where the news media will be stationed.


“Thirty years ago, when we started, the idea of a presidential debate in Brooklyn would have been pretty far beyond anyone’s imagination,” Mr. Hindy said. “It’s a real demonstration of Brooklyn’s arrival.”


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

L.A. WEEKLY

Mast Brothers Brings L.A.'s First Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory to Downtown


By Heather Platt



"Like MAST's New York and London factories, this new Arts District location will offer chocolate-making tours every hour."  

Friday, March 25, 2016

L.A. TIMES

First Look Inside the new Mast Brothers chocolate factory and shop in downtown L.A.

By Jenn Harris








"We're inspired by this community and what's going on here," says Rick. "You can be a chocolate maker in L.A. now. That's really exciting." 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bean to Bar

Dear Friends,
I wanted to personally make a follow-up response to the misleading, unsubstantiated and in many cases unsourced articles being circulated by the media about our business and be perfectly clear about a few key points:
Mast Brothers is a 100% bean to bar chocolate maker. Every chocolate bar made by our company that you have lovingly purchased since we opened our first factory, including those purchased for the coming holidays, was made “bean to bar”. Any claim or insinuation otherwise is simply false.
Mast Brothers has always been making chocolate from “bean to bar.” From the beginning (2007), my brother and I have produced a bean to bar line of chocolate with an obsessive attention to detail, meticulous craftsmanship, groundbreaking innovation and inspirational simplicity. Despite the best efforts of various competitors and “critics” to disparage us or pull us down, we are proud of our work and proud of the journey we took to get where we are today: We employ over 50 beautifully talented, hardworking and inspiring chocolate makers. We partner with family-owned specialty shops and renowned culinary institutions alike, across the globe. We deliver a superior bean to bar product to our customers.
Mast Brothers has been open and transparent about our experimentation, techniques and recipes since day one. To set the record straight, before we opened our first chocolate factory, my brother and I experimented and honed our craft constantly for nearly a year, which is typical for any entrepreneur, craftsman, and innovator. At that time, in addition to making chocolate from bean to bar, we also tested with couverture. And despite wild speculations about our production levels or sales, we made no more than 200 or so bars a week, did not make a profit and generated a rather modest revenue, which we obtained primarily from setting up a folding table at a weekend market, the occasional wedding or special event. Additionally, we did not sell our chocolate bars for $10 but $5-$7 at the time. We have always been open and transparent about our chocolate, and have eagerly and honestly discussed our methods with inquiring customers, chefs, fellow chocolate makers and journalists. And while we never claimed to make all our chocolate exclusively from bean to bar in those early days, we did describe ourselves as a bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Since we were in fact making chocolate from bean to bar, we honestly thought we could say as much. We sincerely apologize if you or any of our other loyal customers feel they were misled about the chocolate we made when our company was just getting off the ground.
That all said, having to write this letter saddens me more than anything. We have spent precious time away from our family on the week of Christmas to manage a senseless, mean-spirited “takedown” by determined individuals with an agenda to harm our reputation solely for the purpose of their commercial or professional gain. I would hope that the press covering these unfounded speculative allegations would examine the motives of those in the business of spreading this misinformation. It is very disappointing personally and professionally. Our wonderful team and our beloved partners have to go home for the holidays and try to explain to their families and friends that yes, indeed, Mast Brothers is actually making their own chocolate. This is not the chocolate industry that we wish to be a part of. To that end, we will continue, as we have always done, to not participate in chocolate industry conferences, conventions or competitions until the culture changes.
More importantly, however, we will work even harder to challenge, improve, and innovate. We will continue to focus on growing our business in an ethical, honest and transparent way. We will continue to buy hundreds of tons of cacao from the world’s great farms. And we will continue to deliver a superior bean to bar product to our customers for all to enjoy.
We wish you all a happy and peaceful holiday season.
Rick Mast 
CEO / Co-Founder

What is “Bean to Bar”? 
“Bean to bar” is a phrase used to describe that the entire process of making the chocolate is done by the chocolate maker, including roasting the cocoa bean, winnowing, refining, tempering and molding. This results in a more authentic, high quality chocolate.
What is Couverture? 
Couverture is a style of high quality chocolate (also made “bean to bar”) that often adds additional cocoa butter for a more buttery mouthfeel and to facilitate chocolate confectionary work.
Do you remelt chocolate? 
No. We make all of our chocolate from bean to bar. This year alone we will have purchased around $500,000 worth of cacao from top farms.
How did you use couverture in your experimental first year, before opening your factory? 
Alongside making chocolate from bean to bar, we used couverture in countless experiments. We happily used it in scores of truffles, various confections, and pastries. Valrhona was one of many chocolate makers that inspired our early bean to bar efforts. Occasionally, we would resort to using couverture feves to seed these tempering batches, or use melted couverture to clean, flush or warm up our stone-grinders. Our early bar production was so minimal, around 200 bars a week, so we couldn’t afford to waste a drop. Even this hardly controversial act was done on a minuscule amount of chocolate and even though it technically was ‘bean to bar’, it wasn’t labeled ‘bean to bar’.
Do you or did you ever sell a chocolate bar as ‘bean to bar’ when it was remelted couverture? 
No. We were proud of our bean to bar work and were eager to show it off but were always open and transparent about any auxiliary experiments.
Did you make chocolate from bean to bar in your first year? 
Yes. My brother and I quit our day jobs in late 2007, and spent most of the next year experimenting with how to improve our chocolate products, produced consumer research and market testing, learned more about the intricacies in making chocolate, and discussed our business plan. During this time we settled on our recipes, company vision and even opened a factory.
Were you open and transparent about your experimental first year? 
We have always been open and transparent about our chocolate, and have eagerly and honestly discussed our methods with inquiring customers, chefs, fellow chocolate makers and journalists. And while we never claimed to make all our chocolate exclusively from bean to bar in those early days, we did describe ourselves as a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, since we were in fact making chocolate from bean to bar.
Do you claim to be the first ever ‘bean to bar’ chocolate maker? 
No. There have been countless interviews and reports dating back to our beginnings in which we say otherwise. We have even written about various chocolate makers that predate us (Patric and Amedei, in a New Yorker piece I wrote in 2008). We are however, one of the first in this bean to bar space and I do believe the first in New York.
What goes on at your Chocolate Factory and HQ that is on 46 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn? 
It is a 100% bean to bar, beautiful chocolate factory that produces chocolate using the same techniques as is open to the public at our Brooklyn flagship in Williamsburg. This factory employs nearly 30 people in our HQ facility, from chocolate makers to bookkeepers. It also houses our inventory and fulfillment departments and our offices. It is not designed to facilitate the public on a walk-in basis.
Where do you source your beans? 
Currently, we are sourcing beans from a variety of origins: Peru (including the famed porcelana bean), Venezuela (Chuao), Tanzania, Madagascar, Brazil and Papua New Guinea. We have sourced in the past from all around the world and have a queue of samples from new regions to explore for our 2017 collection and limited reserve bars.
Where can I find information on the contents of your chocolate?
Ingredients (including cacao origin) for each bar can be found on our website under each bar.

What does the future of Mast Brothers look like? 
We are a growing business and the outlook for the future is positive. Despite some individuals with an agenda to harm our reputation solely for the purpose of their commercial or professional gain, we will work even harder to challenge, improve, and innovate. We will continue to focus on growing our business in an ethical, honest and transparent way. We will continue to buy hundreds of tons of cacao from the world’s great farms. And we will continue to deliver a superior bean to bar product to our customers for all to enjoy.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FOOD AND WINE

Introducing Chocolate Beer, Brewed From Nothing But Cocoa Beans


By Mike Pomranz


The world is filled with plenty of chocolate-flavored beers; I’m personally partial to Lancaster Brewing’s Double Chocolate Milk Stout. But what about a beer made only from chocolate? Mast Brothers Chocolate Shop has been making headlines with that exact concoction but settle down chocolate-loving boozehounds, the brothers made a non-alcoholic “chocolate beer.”
They start with cocoa beans roasted in house which are then shelled and cold-brewed for 24 hours in the same kind of stainless steel fermenters you might see used for small batch beer. Then, to get that “beer” look and texture, the resulting brew goes through two rounds of forced carbonation: C02 is added at the kegging stage and then nitrogen is used as it comes out of the tap to help give the chocolate beer a nice head.
So what does a chocolate beer taste like? Our own Noah Kaufman stopped by and gave them a try, describing the drinks as relatively straight-forward, kind of like a cold hot chocolate. Also, since nothing is added to the cold-brew, these “beers” are lighter and easier drinking than your typical beer would be, meaning you can drink enough to feel guilty about this guilty pleasure.
Chocolate fans can try out two different varieties of the beer – “Brooklyn Blend” and “Vanilla Smoke” – currently on draft at Mast Brothers’ Brooklyn factory. The brand says more varieties are in the works, and told the Huffington Post that bottling was even a possibility “down the road.”
If you prefer chocolate highs to beer buzzes, this might just be your new drink of choice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

Brooklyn's Mast Brothers Debut a New Flagship and Introduce Chocolate Beer

By Hadley Keller




Beloved Brooklyn chocolate makers debut a new flagship and a new confection.

Brooklyn’s favorite bearded chocolatiers, Mast Brothers, may have one-upped themselves, devising an offering that could prove even more popular than their notably delicious bars and confections: chocolate beer. Last month, Rick and Michael Mast served the cocoa-infused brew at their newly overhauled N. Third Street store. The nonalcoholic drink comes in three varieties, each inspired by one of the company’s chocolate bars: Brooklyn Blend, Tanzania, and Vanilla.



Guests at the store opening/beer pouring mingled amid stacks of burlap cocoa-bean bags scattered throughout the space. Minimalist without being cold, the shop mixes classic elements (subway tile and white brick) with clean lines and sleek, modern furnishings (black countertops and square glass tables) for a look that is refreshingly bright and crisp.



Just down the street, the confectioners have also opened a “chocolate laboratory,” a culinary space that will be used to concoct new products and be rented out for events. Both locations resemble Mast Brothers’ recently opened outpost in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood. All were designed in-house, signaling the company’s strong interest in its new aesthetic. If the design is any indicator, the brother chocolatiers have a sweet future ahead.