The Mast-ery of Materials: Handcrafted Chocolates

In the second issue of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly, we highlight a diverse group of makers and artisans who share their stories behind the importance of the materials they use for their products. While each person had a unique story to tell and expertise to share, we found that underlying their differences were two common values: quality and sustainability.

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One of the featured makers in the Maker Quarterly is Mast Brothers Chocolate, pioneers of handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolates, established in Brooklyn in 2007. Rick and Michael Mast – co-founders, co-owners, and yes, brothers – are known for their exceptionally high standards in sourcing ingredients.

“When things are carefully grown, they taste that much better. Everything should taste good from the source, whether it’s cacao beans or almonds. The differences in the beans we source are what yield the differences in our chocolate. A bean from Madagascar is going to taste completely different than one from the Dominican Republic simply because they are grown in different soil, climate, and elevation.”

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The company has a flagship factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where chocolate connoisseurs can participate in factory tours, experience chocolate tastings, and participate in workshops and training sessions.

Mast Brothers Chocolate recently opened a new location in London, and we had an opportunity to connect with Nathan Warkentin, Creative Director,  to learn more about the New Mast Brothers Milk Chocolate Line, as well as the importance of the ingredients and materials used in their products.

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Youve been making chocolate for nearly a decade. How long has the debut of Mast Brothers Milk Chocolate been in the works? While milk chocolate seems like the next logical step, the Mast Brothers appear to make every decision carefully and purposefully. What was the inspiration and process to reach this point? 

We have been doing tests with milk chocolate for some time now. Like any product we release, there are several rounds of testing and refining before it hits the public. We have always received requests to create a milk chocolate bar. We wanted to do it the Mast Brothers way, so we chose to debut our milk chocolate collection highlighting cow milk, goat milk, and sheep milk. The conversation already starts with a more innovative, food-focused vocabulary.

The Mast Brothers chocolate bar experience begins with the beautifully designed and colorful wrapper, for which you chose Mohawk Via Felt Cream White. What about Mohawk paper made it the perfect choice to deliver your chocolates to craft chocolate fans?

Mohawk paper has a very tactile element to it, which provides the perfect wrapper to our hand-made chocolate bars. We wanted the experience to feel like you are opening a very special gift, but also reinforce that chocolate is food and that it should be eaten in that context.

Editor’s Note: Vanity Fair recently featured an article about the unique packaging of Mast Brothers Chocolates stating, “The hefty paper with its fanciful designs has attracted as much a following as their dark chocolate itself.”

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The new Mast Brothers Chocolate London Flagship recently opened in London (Shoreditch), and features the complete factory experience, including handcrafted chocolate bars, confections and beverages.

Tell us about the new London location.

We just opened our new factory in London on February 14. We are already making chocolate on site and are thrilled to be in London. We hired a team of local chocolate makers and retail staff and really want the location to speak to the neighborhood. With the design of the space, as our chocolate itself, we wanted to keep it as simple, pure and transparent as possible.

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To learn more about Mast Brothers Chocolate, visit http://mastbrothers.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/mastbrothers

To subscribe to the Mohawk Maker Quarterly, visit http://www.mohawkconnects.com/marketing-page/cultureofcraft

Interview: Jennifer Hunold |Editor: Diane O’Connor

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