The intense and overwhelming smell of chocolate hits you hard upon opening the door to the Mast Brothers Chocolate factory, but you acclimatise quickly. Actually, factory doesn’t seem the right word—microfactory? macrokitchen?
We were given hairnets and a tour of the small facility and the chocolate making process, which includes bean sorting and roasting, winnowing (separating edible nib from husk), conching, tempering, molding and wrapping. Mast Brothers has several cool machines (see photos below), but mostly they are doing everything by hand to produce about 3000 bars per week. They even want to use sail freight to ship the beans: this is slow chocolate.
We finished by tasting the different flavours (serrano pepper was a favourite) and admiring the beautiful wrapping papers in their shop at the front of the space, which is open to the public on the weekends.