I love the holidays – eating all the food, spending time with family and friends and escaping the daily routine. But best of all, Kevin and I got a bonus day off from work right before the break. So I decided to see what fun activity we could do. That’s when I remembered Mast Brothers – the hipster chocolate company founded in Brooklyn by brothers Rick and Michael Mast — and its new downtown factory and tour.
The company opened a modern (and stunning) factory in the trendy Downtown Los Angeles arts district just a few months ago. And it is definitely an informative tour. It starts off with a tasting of a raw cacao bean. I’ve seen cacao pods and even the roasted nibs used to make chocolate. But neither Kevin or I tasted it in pure form, which they do on the tour.
I first heard of Mast from a local chocolatier at a food festival last May, who pretty much snubbed the brand for its lack of quality and flavor. Plus, they said they cared too much about the pretty packaging. I reluctantly tried the seemingly ‘evil brand’ at the festival, and you know what? I loved it. And yes, I’m a sucker for pretty packaging.
The nearly 6,000-square foot space is the company’s largest showroom. And certainly was popular the day we went with what seemed like thousands of kids with their parents. Though, in reality, it was like 6 kids on the tour.
The tour costs $10 for adults and is free for children under the age of 10 years old (which probably explains the kid thing). Visitors are able to see the entire chocolate making process, which ends with a sample of about 6 different chocolate bars and their signature chocolate beer (basically a cooler way to say chocolate soda… no alcohol in this beer).
The tour is pretty short – about 30 minutes total. But makes for a fun day off activity. And the best part? You exit through the gift shop! We ended up buying a stack of chocolate bars and couldn’t resist the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, which they walked right by us while on the tour… Good sales technique!
After the tour, Kevin and I had lunch at nearby Zinc Cafe. The place has a gourmet food shop and strong coffee. I wouldn’t say it was the best lunch we’ve ever had, but the atmosphere of the cafe makes up for it.
If it’s a warm day, head out to the covered patio and try to forget about all that work you don’t need to do. After all, it’s your day off!
816 S. SANTA FE AVE
LOS ANGELES, CA 90021
Open 11 am – 7 pm daily
Factory tours every hour, $10 for adults
Zinc Cafe & Market
580 MATEO ST
LOS ANGELES, CA 9013
Open Mon-Sat from 7 am – 12 am and Sunday from 7 am – 10 pm
Located just a short drive from Mast (and technically walkable…but it is LA)