I'll bet you didn't know that just over the Williamsburg Bridge, a ten minute walk from the G train, lies a magical wonderland full of sights and smells the likes of which have never been seen before in our time! That's right, I'm talking about the Mast Brothers Chocolate factory and brew bar.
Actually, that's a total lie - you've probably seen these sights and smelled these smells at your local Whole Foods, at the corner market, or even at a boutique in Truckee, Tahoe (where I once saw bars of Mast Brothers Chocolate for sale alongside handcrafted gold jewelry and letterpress stationery.)
A couple of years ago, Freyan got me some Mast Brothers chocolate bars for Christmas as a sweet New York homage - and now, I can walk down the block to the Whole Foods near my apartment and pick up fifteen of them in a heartbeat. I will admit, it feels a bit like cheating the system to get this piece of New York craftsmanship in my own neighborhood, but seeing as I love the product, I wouldn't want to stunt their growth just to fulfill my own NYC fantasies.
Besides, that's probably how my New York friends feel about Blue Bottle - it's supposed to be a San Francisco thing, but sometimes they're probably really flippin happy that they don't have to get on a plane to have a sip.
If you're like me, then spending even ten minutes in a whole room full of chocolate bars without taking a crateload home is a bit of a challenge. The only thing holding me off was the brunch we had just consumed at Reynard, and our stop at Blue Bottle down the block prior to our continued exploration of Williamsburg. So, note to all: if you're going to Mast Brothers and don't want to buy up the lot, just stuff yourself silly with duck and coffee beforehand. Easy peasy.
While we hadn't been able to buy tickets to their factory tour (they sell out quickly, and we were still shoring up our itinerary), you should note that they don't allow photos anyway...so just pretend that I went and then told you all about it!
I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats!
But really, I've heard great things - so if you're in the market for a fun little daytime activity in Williamsburg (or they do after work tours too, I believe) or something to do with the family, I'd highly suggest buying tickets to that. And let me know how it goes! I'd love to go sometime. Maybe when I move to New York.
A look at their goodies for sale was enough for us for the time being. Look at these pristine packages full of colorful whimsy and fun! Who wouldn't want to eat a chocolate bar decorated in rainbow attire?
Even New York locals have to snap a shot or two sometimes. Glad this won't have to change when I eventually make my move!
I'm not entirely sure what's happening here, but I can only assume my friends are so excited about accompanying me on this tour of Brooklyn that they couldn't contain their energy for the shot. Obviously.
Sorry guys, it was too cute - had to post it!
When we were done marveling at the stacks of gold (ok, chocolate) bars, we hopped into line at their brew bar for a couple of nibbles. The girls split a giant cookie, and I treated myself to a Sea Salt Truffle.
If you want to get on my good side, send me truffles. Nom nom nom.
While we weren't able to go backstage for the factory tour, they do have kind of an "open front" to their factory, where you can see mounds of cane sugar and cocoa powder waiting to be formed into perfect, mouth-watering plates of chocolate. You can also see the stacks of thick, artisan paper yet to be wrapped around the finished bars, and the machines that wrap them all up!
So, we still walked away feeling like we got a bit of a sense of the process. Just a taste, if you will. Har har.
Are you a chocolate fan? I'm partial to dark chocolate varieties, like Mast Brothers's Brooklyn Blend or Sea Salt Chocolate.
Mast Brothers Chocolate 111 North 3rd Street Williamsburg, Brooklyn
10 - 7 Mon - Sat 10 - 5 Sun