MAST BROTHERS CHOCOLATE ‘A Family Cookbook’ by Rick Mast & Michael Mast, Foreword by Thomas Keller; published by Little, Brown and Company.
With so many people jumping on the ‘roots’ food bandwagon these days, it’s sometimes hard to tell who is in it for the moment and who’s in it because they are truly passionate about their craft. Real Food Real Kitchens recently met two Brothers who would fall deep in to the latter category, in fact I’m not sure how much deeper they could sink their hearts and souls in to their work which happens to be one of our favorite foods…CHOCOLATE! The Mast Brothers (Rick & Michael) began their journey in to chocolate years ago in a tiny apartment in a trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn called Williamsburg. Once home to yours truly (back when it was still considered a not so good neighborhood some 20 plus years ago), Williamsburg has since become a hotbed for food innovation and the Mast Brothers have been at the forefront from day one.
After featuring the Brothers in the first issue of Real Food Real Kitchens magazine, I learned they had a book on the way and have since been incredibly eager to get my hands on a copy, which I finally did. Simply put it was worth every second of the wait!
The book has many elements you would expect, amazing recipes that all include chocolate (actually many are not your typical chocolate recipes), impeccable design using their signature chocolate bar wrapper designs (which typically remind me of beautiful, repetitive, wallpaper patterns), and out of this world food photography, some of the best we have ever seen (taken by Tuukka Toski). But the bulk of our love for this book and for the Mast Brothers as a whole is the stories they include; the stories of their family, their childhood, their ethics on growing and maintaining their very grass roots chocolate business, their community engagement, and coolest of all their ‘Seven Crowns’ which act as a map to running their business… which we won’t reveal as to not spoil the book :O)
‘A Family Cookbook’ truly captures emotional periods of growth in the Brothers lives and relates them to food. From growing up on a farm in Iowa, to finding their passion for chocolate in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, to their journey across the ocean on a sailboat seeking out the very best ingredients, to visiting the farmers in Belize where they source their cacao from, to starting a family of their own… this book is an emotional journey through life, each period capturing a group of recipes to fold into the memory of what the Mast Brothers are most passionate about, Family & Chocolate.
From the expected recipes (dark & stormy chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate truffles of all types) to the unexpected (cacao nib scallops, savory chocolate cream sauce, orange nib-crusted salmon), The Mast Brothers 'A Family Cookbook' will expand any 'choc-o-holics' horizon into a blissful world of recipes backed with a heart-warming sweetness from a pair of Brothers that approach their craft like life: with pure love and care, living every bite to the fullest. This book is not only an amazing resource for chocolate recipes, but it’s also an amazing read about life.
by Craig Chapman