Bearded Brooklynite chocolatiers the Mast Brothers first appeared in London, at Shoreditch's Ace Hotel, at the tail-end of 2014, staging a winter takeover of its Bulldog Edition coffee bar. Now the move has been made permanent – much to the delight of the city's craft chocolate-indulging masses – with the launch of the city’s first bean-to-bar chocolate factory on nearby Redchurch Street.
The sleek, minimalist shop is sure to be flavour of the month with the sweet toothed and design savvy alike; Rick and Michael Mast have amassed a cult following since founding the eponymous company in 2007 and this latest opening further expands their NYC-based empire. The siblings began visiting east London a few years ago – the area quickly became a home-from-home and a natural choice of location for a new store.
The brothers make their chocolate from raw cocoa beans imported from around the world, with no additives except cane sugar. Their confections are impeccably packaged – the wrappings are every bit as beguiling as the flavours contained within, revealing exotic source locations such as Tanzania and Madagascar, and tasting notes like toasted meringue, thyme and lemon curd.
Sizeable beards and Midwest charm asides (the Masts hail from Iowa City), the brothers’ ambrosial chocolate beer is the real draw. A refreshing, non-alcoholic brew made from cocoa beans, water and cane sugar, the drink is kegged and carbonated with nitrogen to create a delicious, foamy head. Available exclusively in the London shop (and on draught no less!), it’s a covetable chocolate treat that we’re definitely sweet on.