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Almond & Sea Salt Chocolate From Brooklyn for V-Day: Yo! Eat Me!

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Mast Brothers Chocolate is a small boutique factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that makes artisan chocolate.

The chocolate is made in small numbered batches from beans specially selected by the brothers who own the company, Rick and Michael Mast.

Beans from New Guinea, the Dominican Republic and other exotic locales are brought to the factory, hulled, then roasted in small convection ovens. The dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) is then blended with ingredients that can be read by even a small child -- cane sugar ... almonds ... sea salt ... olive oil. See? No chemistry degree needed.

The chocolate has become the rage of New York, sold in specialty shops like Dean & Deluca and bought by chefs like Thomas Keller. So what does that have to do with Miami?

Lester's

in Wynwood is selling the chocolate bars -- just in time for

Valentine's Day. They don't come cheap. At $8 for a 2.5 ounce bar, I

thought twice before I went ahead and pulled my credit card out of my

wallet. But the pretty wrapping, and the fact that I drove in the

pouring rain to buy them convinced me.

The bars are available in

four varieties -- Conacado, made from Dominican beans, Papua New Guinea,

another single source chocolate, Brooklyn Blend, and Almonds & Sea

Salt. I chose the Brooklyn Blend and Almonds & Sea Salt.

The

Brooklyn Blend is dark and rich. I taste a hint of fruit, berries

maybe, in the chocolate. On the bar's label (batch number

11260112, by the way), the Mast Brothers inform me to watch for notes of

red wine, plum and tobacco, like on a fine wine.

The Almond

& Sea Salt was my favorite. A touch of sea salt worked with the

smoothness of the chocolate to give this bar a distinct bite. It

works especially well with a glass of burgundy or other red wine.

The bars themselves, are packaged like small presents.

Hand wrapped in gorgeous papers (the almonds and sea salt are wrapped

with red and blue anchors, the Brooklyn in a fleur-de-lis design), they're

pretty enough for gift giving.

Seems like the Mast Brothers may turn Brooklyn's reputation around -- from tough-guy territory to the sweetest place on earth.

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