Whenever I host a dinner party, I get caught up in the dinner menu, appetizers, and drinks. Dessert is usually the last thing on my mind. And after a full day of prepping, cooking, and hosting, I want to serve something easy. A scoop of ice cream is the easiest of desserts, but it’s also kinda boring. Solution: affogatos. An affogato is just a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of hot espresso poured over. As the espresso melts the ice cream, it basically becomes a sweet and creamy latte. I topped mine with a sprinkle of cacao nibs for a little crunch. Yummm!
Last week I visited the Mast Brothers Chocolate store in Williamsburg for a tour and tasting. Like most others, I fell in love with this brand at first sight. The packaging is absolutely beautiful – they have a full time designer on staff who designs the paper and helps create the look and feel of the factory and store. What a dream job!
Behind the pretty packaging is delicious chocolate. The ingredients are simple, but the flavors are anything but. All you need is cacao and sugar to make chocolate, but the wonderful and complex flavors come from the beans. Everything from bean type, weather, and soil, to the roasting process define how the chocolate will taste. So when you taste notes of citrus, stone fruit, or slate, that all comes from the beans. Cool, huh?
After a little 101 on cacao beans, we got a behind the scenes look at how the chocolate is made. And each step of the way, we got to taste the chocolate.
And here they are! All packaged up and ready to go. Did you know that all the Mast Brothers Chocolate you see in your local Whole Foods and specialty stores come from this very factory?
If you’re in New York, stop by the store for the tour or even just to browse. You can taste chocolate either way!