Hold up. We're growing cocoa beans in Shoreditch now?
Not quite; most of the beans are grown in Madagascar and Tanzania, but the team from Mast Brothers work closely with the farmers then complete the whole bean-to-bar process right here in London.
So east London's good for more than jellied eels...
Seems that way. The company’s award-winning recipes and bespoke bits of equipment were developed by Rick and Michael Mast at their New York headquarters, but all of the Mast Brothers chocolate that’s sold in the UK is made here.
Will they let me shove my face into a vat of chocolate?
Obviously not – we all know what happened to Augustus Gloop. But their fortnightly Tasting Room sessions involve plenty of cocoa rich mouthfuls. As well as the bars, they’ve got a fine line in drinks, including collaborations with local companies Square Root soda and Goodbeans, who make cold brew coffee. There’s even a non-alcoholic chocolate beer.
But can I at least get my hands dirty?
With the relevant gloves and hairnets, sure; they run monthly chocolate-making workshops, during which you’ll handle and taste fresh cocoa pods, grind nibs and see the bars into their wrappers ready to fill the onsite shop (or your belly). You could just skip the hard work and buy a bar, of course. The flavours – everything from smoke to toasted milk – are as enticing as the beautiful packaging.
Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory is at 19-29 Redchurch St, E2 7DJ the nearest station is Shoreditch High St Overground. Tasting sessions are £25.
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