Mast Brothers are Marmite chocolate makers – metaphorically of course. Just as some enjoy the works of One Direction for the music while others hate them for their marketing machinery, there is seemingly little different, in terms of people’s perception, with these Brooklyn-originated makers. Although the whirlwind of publicity and fandom may be alluring for some commentators, I will try and put that aside and concentrate on the chocolate.
The bar I have before me was picked up from their London store a few months ago and already has a best before date of September 2015 – which is very surprising and partly why I’m reviewing now instead of a the range of other new makers I have available. It’s that point, though; Mast Brothers still have to compete with the new upstarts and the only way they can do that in the long-term is make wonderful chocolate.
When it comes to Tanzania as an origin Mast Brothers have little breadth of competition, but certainly a noticeable intensity of competition. Askinosie, for example, produces a wonderful Tendende, Pralus create a very good Tanzanie and Domori have put together a very acceptable Morogoro. Although this Mast version is pleasant, I’d have to place it at just below the Morogoro mark. It doesn’t offer a robust flavour nor is the texture ‘arty’ in a rustic sense or expert in a smooth sense. It’s fairly rudimentary, it feels somewhat rushed and is visually far from perfect.
The flavour certainly lacks anything to get overly excited about. It has an almond note supported by the aroma you get walking through Fortnums’ tea section. Subsequent bites return mango, orange and raisin and those flavours start to build. Not up to the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, but more Scarfel Pike. It would be pleasing for many, but if you’re looking for a maker pushing the boundaries and excelling at the craft, more seasoned tasters are likely to be left disappointed.