Cabernet & Shiraz. Raspberries & Chocolate. Great as pairs, but all the better when you have the four intermingling at once.
That 70-percent, organic dark chocolate bar in your hands this month is sweetened with a whole handful of real raspberries, giving it a great blend of tart and sugar that pairs beautifully with a glass of either the Bin 600 or the Bin 389.
Mast is one of the world’s most recognizable names in artisan, fine chocolates.
This company is headquartered in Mount Kisco, NY, about an hour north of Manhattan. Surrounded by green farmlands, brothers Rick and Michael Mast wanted chocolates that offered the best of a stocked farm pantry, incorporating house-roasted coffees, local sea salts, organic oats and almonds, as well as less sugar and minimal processing. For Mast, a chocolate bar’s value wasn’t only what was in it, but the unnecessaries left out — like ingredients you cannot pronounce and excessive, gaudy packaging.
They shook up an old game, dominated by companies like Godiva and Hershey, to usher in the modern world of fine chocolates, accessible not only in confection shops, but in retailers like Whole Foods.
It’s a chocolate bar you can proudly put out when guests come by, featuring block printed packaging, made with natural pigments to create an abstract design.
To make each bar, the team at Mast begins with hand-sorting the cacao beans, selecting only the perfect ones. Those are then small-batch roasted. A winnow removes the shells from the nibs, and then the nibs are refined under a granite stone wheel for three days.
This is the point where the Mast family creativity comes into play. Maybe it’s the creamy, sweetness of almond butter or high salinity notes from rough pieces of sea salt — or, even more unexpected, if you opt for the Lavender Chocolate or the Olive Oil bar.
Biting into any Mast bar is a culinary moment worth pausing for. It demands a great glass of wine and is the ultimate way to unwind after the stresses of the day.
Their raspberries for this specific bar are organically and sustainably grown in Oregon, where they are ripened to perfection, handpicked at their peak and dried to lock in the nutritional health benefits. Mast then stone mills the raspberries and blend them with a signature dark chocolate recipe in small batches.
“This chocolate was inspired by sunny days with our families picking wild raspberries among the thorns on the edge of the forest.”- RICK MAST, CO-FOUNDER
That process takes 48 hours, which allows for a bright and smooth finish, while maintaining an incredible sweetness.
One thing we love is that you can also feel good about choosing Mast. Their chocolate uses less sugar than conventional companies, and each bar contains over 50-percent cacao.
Furthermore, with each one purchased, customers are helping to support Kokoa Kamili, an organic cocoa organization based out of Tanzania in Eastern Africa. The company is committed to paying above fair-trade wages to the farmers who supply their cacao beans.
Kokoa Kamili purchases “wet” cocoa straight out of the farmers’ pods, which are then fermented and dried in-house. Centralizing this process not only creates a more consistent product, but removes the burden from farmers, allowing them more time to nurture their farms and their families.Finally, Mast exclusively sources organic ingredients and is fully ‘organic certified.’
Once your Robb Vices-provided bar is finished (trust our staff when we tell you that it won’t take long), check out their Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection online.
It’s a full lineup of 12 bars, featuring the artwork of NYC’s Met Museum. Mast will donate a portion of each sale of these beautiful collection chocolates toward the Museum, helping the arts stay accessible, enjoyed and preserved in troubled times.