Because I have the best friend in the history of friendships, I received four of the excellent chocolate bars I saw during the Central Market festival last weekend! I’m going to review each one…

…starting with Mast Brothers Chocolate Vanilla and Smoke bar.

I love the optical illusion on the packaging! Mast Brothers is a company in Brooklyn. If you’re interested in chocolate production, here is a great short video shot at one of their suppliers in the Dominican Republic. Look at all of those beans drying!

Opening this package was reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.

The chocolate is very dense and dark. There is only cacao, sugar, and vanilla in here. The “smoked” comes from the chocolate beans being smoked instead of just roasted. It lends a subtle smoke flavor that doesn’t come through in every single bite, but that does play around in the background.

A tip: When you eat dark chocolate, please don’t chew it. Milk chocolate is fine to munch, if you must, but the darker the chocolate, the thicker and ickier it is to masticate. It is like chewing on paste. If you let it melt on your tongue, you’ll get a lot more out of the bar, flavor-wise. If you just chomp into this bar, you might miss the smoke entirely.

This bar has a clean, sharp break. The chocolate is silky smooth and fairly bitter, closer to the natural chocolate taste than bars with more sugar. Because of the richness of the candy, it is easy to eat just a little and feel sated. Very interesting and enjoyable.