Trying to convince my friends to come on a chocolate factory tour with me was (unsurprisingly) easy - throw in a chocolate tasting and it's even easier. Based in Shoreditch, MAST Brothers chocolate factory and shop is a hidden gem in a city boasting all sorts of immersive experiences. And simplicity is at the heart of everything for these chocolate makers.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the experience, as I knew nothing about the brand's production or history, and I was more than pleasantly surprised! It is always a struggle to strike the right balance of authenticity and heritage when telling a brand story - dive too deep into origins and artisan production technique and you can lose a portion of your audience, make it too basic and risk glossing over some of your most interesting brand assets - however our tour guide at MAST Brothers got it just the right amount of whimsical and educational.
The shop itself is incredibly impressive - it is so well curated, it could almost be an exhibit at the Tate Modern. Each chocolate bar is a piece of art in its own right - that's what using independent artists in the place of designers, and hand wrapping each individual bar will get you. At the back of the sleek shop floor, ceiling-high windows allow a sneak peek into the factory. Even calling it a factory is an exaggeration! Every piece of equipment is so minimal and well thought out that it alone demonstrates the crafting that goes into this brand. It's all so un-try hard and authentically cool that it's almost annoying.
Whilst we were told about the brand's humble beginnings as the brain child of the two Mast brothers in New York, it was thrown into the tour almost like casual conversation, so nothing seemed too overbranded. The focus of the tour was to educate about chocolate production, and how to make a genuinely great product (like Mast chocolate, coincidentally) rather than to reinforce any super-obvious brand messages. The brand message here is: we make great chocolate - here's how.
We all left the tour full of chocolate samples and exclaiming about how this was the dream job - Mast Brothers is like that really beautiful, smart, lovely person in your year in Sixth Form who you couldn't dislike because they were so cool. Sit up and take note other brands - show people what your brand really is, and focus on that!