“Chocolate Experts Hate Mast Brothers.” That stark headline from a Slate article last spring drew attention to a fact not widely known outside the fine chocolate world. Chocolate judges, authors, and specialty shop owners hold the Mast Brothers in low regard, Megan Giller reported, because the quality of their chocolate comes up short. While that is true, so far as it goes, it does not explain the particular disdain Mast Brothers receives. After all, some other bean-to-bar chocolate makers produce chocolate of equal or lower caliber. Looking beyond the quality issue, the Masts are not the only chocolate makers to wear beards, cloak themselves in hipster affectation, fixate on packaging, or garner press that’s out of proportion with their merit. The real reason is something else entirely.
Let’s turn the spotlight towards the elephant in the room. The fine chocolate community scorns the Mast Brothers because they are thought to have launched their business with a fundamental fraud: that of pretending to be a bean-to-bar chocolate company.
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