There’s a disturbance in the chocolate world over two hipster chocolatier brothers who became successful by allegedly duping customers into buying their remelted commercial-grade chocolate for $10 a bar.
Mast Brothers, the Brooklyn-based company run by Rick and Michael Mast, are known for their artistically-wrapped chocolate and advertise themselves as bean-to-bar chocolate makers. The chocolate bar may be familiar to those who frequent Whole Foods where it is sold for outrageous prices.
Is it worth it? Some people seem to think so, but one chocolate blogger in particular alleges that the Mast brothers remelt commercial-grade chocolate, wrap it up all fancy, and sell it to people using terms like artisanal and craft chocolate (remelting chocolate is, of course, considered a heinous crime in the world of chocolate).
The blogger, who goes by the name “Scott”, is a long-time chocolate blogger at DallasFood.org. Scott recently published a four-part exposé on the company which was independently verified by Quartz.
Scott calls Rick and Michael Mast the “Milli Vanilli of chocolate” and claim they have never made the kind of craft chocolate they say they have.
“Had any of their output been remelted chocolate—whether ten percent, fifty percent, or one hundred percent—it would justify the belief that the Mast Brothers had defrauded the press and public.”
Quartz also highlighted the company’s lack of transparency as well as the issue that, as most of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa, craft chocolate may be the product of forced child labor.
Aubrey Lindley of Cacao in Portland, Oregon has previously noted that Mast Brothers’ chocolate, “had an overly refined, smooth texture that is a trademark of industrial chocolate. No small equipment was achieving a texture like that. It also tasted like industrial chocolate: balanced, flavorless, dark roast, and vanilla.”
The Mast brothers have been met with backlash over the reports and issued a statement on their website:
“Any insinuation that Mast Brothers was not, is not or will not be a bean to bar chocolate maker is incorrect and misinformed. We have been making chocolate from bean to bar since the beginning and will continue to do so.”
It should also be noted that “Scott” found blogging fame back in 2006 for taking down the gourmet-chocolate company Noka Chocolate, which was also reported to have remelted commercially produced chocolate after claiming they were bean-to-bar chocolate makers, according to Vanity Fair.