Rick and Michael Mast have revolutionized the bean-to-bar movement in America. From humbled beginnings in Iowa, these hipster chocolatiers have grown to the real deal. The flagship Mast Brothers Chocolate store is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Factory tours are offered daily by appointment and delicious baked goods and beautifully wrapped chocolate bars are sold.
Rick and Michael have written something far more than a cookbook. In addition to sharing family recipes, the book illustrates the brothers’ story including childhood memories and sailing around the world for cocao. You feel more and more connected to these guys with each page of reading. The book describes the values their company was built upon and the inspiration that got them there. For those new to the bean-to-bar movement, this book is both captivating and educational.
Rick and Micheal are also exceptional marketers. Each chocolate bar looks as if it were wrapped in hand-painted wallpaper or ready to be given as a present. You can see this beautiful packaging on each of the category pages in the cookbook. The photography throughout the book is exquisite, clean, and mouthwatering.
The first item in the book is an instruction on how to temper chocolate. Every recipe in the book features dark chocolate as a shining ingredient. Some recipes include classic favorites like Chocolate Cream Pie and Chocolate Caramels with Sea Salt. There are even savory recipes, such as Orange Nib-Crusted Salmon and Cocoa Coq Au Vin.
The book is organized into seven sections:
Part One: The Beginning
Part Two: Sourcing and Gathering
Part Three: Sailing for Cocao
Part Four: Mastering our Craft
Part Five: Markets and Grocers
Part Six: The Chefs
Part Seven: Community
Each of the seven sections describes a milestone during Rick and Michael’s pursuit of chocolateiring. The organizational parts are the basis for telling the Mast Brothers story. Included in each are recipes inspired by the described events and places traveled.
My first tested recipe from this book was their Chocolate Blueberry Pie. Absolutely delicious! Check it out here.