Mast Brothers Dark Chocolate + Fleur de Sel Bar Review
Mast Brothers chocolate is one of the most talked about chocolates on the high quality chocolate scene. I was lucky enough to be sent one of their bars by The Chocolate Society. Ages ago I was joined up to the society by my husband as a gift and while things were scaled back The Chocolate Society is back and selling a wide array of luxury chocolate.
The bar is wrapped in a high gram weight printed paper with a lovely Mast Brothers label stuck to it. On the back is a lovely label talking about the chocolate but instead of simply listing ingredients they talk to you, the eater, about the ingredients. This bar has organically farmed cocoa from Madagascar which has been roasted, cracked, winnowed, stone-ground and aged in Brooklyn. The sugar is organic cane sugar and fleur de sel which has been hand harvested from France by the Guerande “paludiers” in the traditional method.
The usual way to experience high quality chocolate is to let it melt slowly in the mouth, savouring the flavour. With this bar, the salt has been sprinkled on the bottom so as you let it melt in your mouth the salt washes through your mouth, mixing with the melting chocolate. As this is a dark chocolate bar, it isn’t sweet so the salt isn’t balancing off a sweet milk chocolate.
It took a number of squares to get used to the dark chocolate and salt combination. While salt tones down the sweetness of sugar in caramel, in this chocolate it is meant to enhance the flavour. The flavour of the underlying chocolate is slightly fruity with a hint of ripe fruit initially with a more earthy flavour coming through as it melts, overpowering the fruit. I found it a bit much for me but I hold this chocolate up against some of the best in the world. It is a high bar I set and as such, tiny differences are magnified. The salt, when the chocolate is chewed, blends in and creates an interesting magnification of the flavour.
If anything is a minus in this bar, it is what must be the conch time but this is understandable (and some conching happens during refinement). This is a somewhat slightly bitter and grainy bar when compared to Duffy’s Honduras Indio Rojo 72% Dark Chocolate Bar and the Hotel Chocolat Purist 65% St Lucia 120h conch bar *HOWEVER* over-conching/refining could have driven out that slight fruitiness I seemed to get at the start and the raisin I got at the end. The texture of the chocolate is more pronounced (a shorter refining time) and thus you can feel the chocolate particles but any longer and it might have gone flavourless. Why not try to taste the fruit and particle size yourself? Relax, take a piece of this chocolate and let it melt slowly in your mouth. Roll it around and you’ll experience how it tastes and feels.
This is a very nice high quality chocolate bar but I was slightly off-footed by the salt. I think that they might have considered a shorter conch and a longer refinement to get a smoother bar where we could experience the fruit and earth flavours still but without the large particle size. Regardless, this is an excellent bar and it is easy to see why the Mast Brothers have made such a name for themselves.