What I’ve Got: Mast Chocolate (The Aesthetics of Desirability vs. Desirability Itself)

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Over the past five years, the Mast Brothers, their beards, and their artisanal chocolate has not only ignited a flame amidst hipster crowds in popularizing the “bean-to-bar movement,” but it also has been subject to recent widespread criticism. After a food expert’s in-depth four-page exposé (http://dallasfood.org/2015/12/mast-brothers-what-lies-behind-the-beards-part-1-tastetexture/) on Mast exposed the chocolate makers as fraudulent ponzi schemers who – in their efforts to craft “high-end chocolate” – prized the aesthetic qualities of their chocolate over the quality of the chocolate itself. 

The report – which was later backed by The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/21/nyregion/unwrapping-mast-brothers-chocolatier-mythos.html?_r=0), discusses how the Mast Brothers “faked how they learned to grind their cacao beans, the ingredients in their candy and even their beards,” along with purchasing their chocolate from third-party vendors (and not making it by hand). 

The Mast Brothers returned with a statement along the lines of how “taste was never th[eir] brand. 

Yet, in light of all of this information, the question remains: does it matter? To what extent does a product – particularly in the culinary world – have to taste especially “good” to be considered desirable? 

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