This is painted on the left wall.
I took a tour of the Mast Brothers’ factory on Friday. It was brilliant. I’ve taken “chocolate themed” tours before, and visited the Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco when I was a teenager, and neither of those visits made me feel as excited about chocolate as the ~45 minute walk around the factory watching things being made did. I feel more educated now, and not in the way Starbucks or Teavana wanted its employees to feel and to make the customers feel when I worked for them (apologies to the, honestly, really great people who complimented me on how genuine I was), but more like when we visited the Kitchen at Grove Station and talked to the guy serving Modcup coffee near the door about how cold it was to be right next to the door during a late autumn grand opening. I still need to try honey processed coffee.
Sorry for the potato.
I tried to take some pictures, but my new phone’s camera is kind of a potato (thought apparently an improvement on the old camera), and my hands are not the most stable. I should ask for a new camera for Christmas.
I like the wooden flag. The bags with the color on them are sugar and the bags with no visible markings are cocoa beans. I convinced my boyfriend not to go lay in them, somehow.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures after passing the counter, which is understandable, as the ideas behind any number of their machines is fairly simple and easy to steal with a few good pictures, and they have a policy of a human touch being most important, which means many of their machines aren’t perfect automatons. If they did, I’m sure someone with fantastic business sense and fewer ethics could probably drive them out with a few tweaks to make the machines perfect. Although the idea of keeping the machines imperfect and stressing out the employees is a little odd, they did make a comment about how the latest they’ve worked until was maybe midnight, made it sound outrageous, and confirmed that their job was way, way better than retail in that regard at least. Anyway, the machines obviously don’t hold them back.
This is our guide. She seemed to represent the place’s enthusiastic neuroticism. That was a compliment.
I’ve eaten cocoa nibs before and didn’t really take to them, but when she passed me a roasted bean (Dominican Republican) off the cooling rack and I got into it, it was probably one of the most intensely flavorful experiences of my life. It was delicious and I wanted to steal more but I didn’t because I had this aching desire for this random chocolate employee to like me and to approve of my questions and give me a look that told me I was worthy of chocolate and being in their meticulous chocolate world.
I think I’ll just stare at them until I can start eating them and sharing them with people who are like me and slightly insane.
I actually bought the first two bars, the Tanzania and Vanilla & Smoke before the tour started, and guide informed me that technically we were supposed to get 15% off, but since they can’t really do refunds on their POS, she let me take an extra bar instead. Which, for sure, is the way better deal. Way better. They only had dark chocolate pieces on the table for us to try, but because another woman in the group mentioned the milk chocolate (holy crap maybe it’s because I’ve been raised to just be grateful for what you’re given for fear of being obnoxious, but it was just so easy to get more chocolate without getting people upset at you it was insane.) that the Mast Brothers had recently come out with, the guide also took samples of each of the milk chocolates they had for us to try. Also, because some of our group did not show up, she handed each of us the remaining little bonbon boxes that were supposed to go to them. Because if you snooze, you lose and the rest of us reap the benefits.
We also took a visit to the Mast Brothers chocolate bar down the road, and got ourselves a sea salt cocoa nib tea thing (because that’s the “hot chocolate” they serve, not the rich milky stuff) and I went into it having no idea what to expect and it blew me away. It was just like drinking delicious, fine hot chocolate without the, well, rich milky stuff. We seriously contemplated going back for more right before our movie started and maybe we would have if either of us had an umbrella.