$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona

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Next we’ll learn those beards are made from yak hair.


The pre-beard douchebro photos are amazing.


I think the weirdest angle in this who thing is the dismissal of Valrhona as low quality industrial chocolate. Valrhona is actually a really well regarded maker of commercial couverture and bulk bars for use by candy makers and professional chefs. It gets used in really, really, high end kitchens. And I know a number of very well regarded pasty chefs who like or use their products.

Even odder is that Valrhona’s retail chocolate bars (IIRC) actually out preform Mast Brother’s bars in most taste tests and always have. So if Mast was using Valrhona’s wholesale products to produce their bars in the past, they actually managed to make the chocolate worse in processing and packaging it. The big complaint against Mast has always been that the quality and taste of the product didn’t match with the price tag and marketing. They seem to be broadly considered incompetent makers of chocolate. If the Valrhona claim is true they aren’t just sub par chocolate makers. They can’t even handle properly made chocolate the right way. And that’s really bad if your charging $10 a bar.


Everyone seems to be jumping on the ‘let’s all hate Mast Brothers’ train all of a sudden. It’s pretty ugly that false claims were made by the company during their early years, and for that they should be given a fine hand slap and a wag of the finger - shame shame. Articles around the internet make it seem like Mast Brothers buys other people’s chocolate, melts it down, then sells it as their own in pretty little paper packaging. At one point, in a much smaller scale, and to some extent, this may have been true (almost definitely), but that is not happening now. I don’t want to defend the multi-million dollar company charging $10 a bar, but I do want to defend the incredibly hard working chocolatiers that sift through the bags among bags of beans, make sure everything is up to snuff, then make the chocolate extremely professionally. I have toured the facilities in the Navy Yard and I have talked to and befriended some of the devout workers there; articles that disparage the product often overlook the hard working souls that spend a great many hours making sure their products are of the utmost quality.
Also, please, the chocolate is hardly “inedible” by the standards of the large majority.

I really need to get to work on my conching machine.


My artisanal vanilla extract is still totally real, of course. Just look for Milli™ vanilla!


And the hipster beard!

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Go for it. Shouldn’t be that complex.

Thought. What about using optical microscopy for assessing the size of the solid-phase particles in the product? That could provide you with a good feedback for how the machine works vs how it should work.

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Hipster van Dyke, than you very much. (I can’t seem to grow the connecty bits, so a beard always looks… Weird).

But I can rock the glasses, and their suits look ill made.


The lies that started them are kind of huge tho… that’s the complaint. They said they were bean to bar when they weren’t. That’s kind of huge.

I make jewellery and I run craft shows. And I don’t let vendors in who are selling stuff easily found on alibaba. Not because I have anything against alibaba but because I know they didn’t make it.

To me this is the same. I have no issues with resellers or remelting just be honest about it.


I agree with this, Valrhona is well-regarded, tasty chocolate. There’s no shame whatever in using it. (So long as you aren’t claiming you made it yourself, of course.) I wonder if they were cutting the Valrhona with their burnt, low-quality product, which affected the flavor?

I remember being surprised when I read a few years ago that the Mast Bros were claiming to be the first to be selling locally made chocolate because the chocolate hobbyist community has been doing it for years using heavy duty juicers and modified Indian curry wet grinder appliances for the various processing steps. And once you go beyond that and buy industrial equipment, who gives a fuck? Hershey’s is technically “bean-to-bar.” Though I suppose if folks are talking “artisinal” the folks at TCHO in San Francisco were in business years before the Mast Bros.


If anyone wants an actual delicious bean-to-bar single source chocolate, I recommend https://askinosie.com/

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I saw this on the Graun the other day.


Can’t say I’ve ever heard of either Mast Brothers or Valrhona, but chocolate isn’t my thing.

It did amuse me that the Guardian’s taster thought Hershey’s was better than any of the expensive brands they tried. Doesn’t help the credibility of the article, but the end note about people buying stuff because it’s expensive rings true.

Side-note : my artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate will soon be available in all good hipster stores.


Yup. Most people making small-scale chocolate, like if you have a fancy chocolates shop or pastry shop in your town, are using bulk chocolate that they melt and mold. This is not a trivial exercise and if you mess it up, the chocolate will not look or taste as good as it should, even if you just remold it into a solid chocolate bar. (Source: relative is a chocolatier.)

What the Mast Brothers apparently did would be, in the jewelry world, claiming that they smelted the ore into metal themselves before making it into jewelry when in fact they sourced their raw materials from a metals dealer just like everyone else.

They may well be making their own now, but at the scale that they are making the chocolate, the manufacture isn’t particularly interesting because they are making it industrially just like Valrhona, Callebaut, Guittard, Hersey’s, Mars, Nestle, etc. That doesn’t make it bad, but it doesn’t make it special, either.


well I think the whole beard thing is almost over but chutzpah will never go out of style!


Of all the chocolates that I’ve had the pleasure of eating, the Albatross by Chef Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate still excites me every time I manage to get some.
Blue cheese and sea salt … drooling now, must go.



Can I snag a piece? You know, for research.


You really should. She sells them online as well as in her shops


Oh, yeah, that’s a common potato chip flavor in Canada.