Just because you can sell a $10 chocolate bar doesn't mean experts will respect it. According to an investigation by Slate, the chocolate industry doesn't really like chocolate produced by the bearded sibling duo behind Mast Brothers, the Brooklyn-based roaster and chocolate purveyor. Michael and Rick Mast make their fancy bars by hand and their products are "sold at hundreds of independently owned shops and big-name grocery stores around the world."
"If you were to ask the world's top chocolate reviewers to rate bars, Mast Brothers would hit in the bottom 5 percentile."
Yet, somehow, "almost every specialty chocolate store refuses to carry the brand." So why does the chocolate world hate a brand that has seen so much success? Experts argue that "Mast's Brooklyn location, hipster image, and beautiful packaging" distract people from their lackluster product. The industry also finds that Mast Brothers' chocolate has a "chalky texture" while others found the bars to be "stale or moldy." Discover Chocolate author Clay Gordon tells Slate, "If you were to ask the world's top chocolate reviewers to rate bars, Mast Brothers would hit in the bottom 5 percentile."
Rick Mast tells Slate that the backlash is due to the fact that Mast Brothers is doing things their own way: "We are a dangerous company because we are outsiders to the chocolate industry, never leaning on industry norms." He adds, "We have achieved incredible success without paying the self-proclaimed industry chocolate experts that you have cited a penny for their 'expertise.'" Even if their beards are too hipster and their chocolate is chalky, the brothers Mast are clearly doing something right. The duo has published a successful cookbook and they recently opened an outpost in London.