Mast Brothers Chocolate of Williamsburg crossed the river this week to collaborate with the venerable Murray’s Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village on a special chocolate and cheese Valentine’s Day treat. The minds at Mast Brothers and Murray’s wouldn’t stoop as low as a mundane chocolate and cheese pairing, of course. This was about Valentine’s Day – placing morsels of chocolate and cheese side by side wouldn’t do. To celebrate romance and love, they wanted a more intimate mingling, a conjugal bliss of ingredients.
The result? The ‘Love at Mast’ – Mast Brothers’ ‘La Red de Guaconejo,’ a chocolate made in Brooklyn with cacao shipped by sailboat from the Dominican Republic, sprinkled on and spread between layers of young rounds of Champlain Valley Triple Cream from Vermont.
The perfect decadent Valentine’s Day indulgence? Perhaps, but if you didn’t get your order in within hours of the announcement, you’ll have to pine pathetically for your next chance to dance with the ‘Love at Mast’ – next year. The limited run of two hundred rounds of chocolate and cheese lusciousness sold out in a matter of hours.
Alas, the only thing we can offer to console your broken heart is a look at the making of the ‘Love at Mast,’ with video and photos courtesy of Conor Hagen of Mast Brothers.
A peek inside the cheese caves beneath Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleecker Street. They have 5 caves where they age and ripen more than 100 types of cheese. This week they teamed up with Mast Brothers Chocolate of Williamsburg to create a new Cavemaster Reserve, for Valentine's Day.
They began with green (young) rounds of Champlain Valley's Triple Cream, made in Vermont with organic cow's milk by cheesemaker Carlton Yoder. And the chocolate? La Red de Guaconejo, a Mast Brothers creation made with cacao from the Dominican Republic. After tasting several Mast Brothers bars to find the perfect pairing, they agreed that La Red's deep berry flavors offered a delicious contrast to the decadent creaminess in the cheese.
Vesa Parviainen, the Pastry Chef at Mast Brothers, uses a cheese wire to slice the triple creams into thirds.
The chocolate layers are created by spreading a layer of La Red's shavings between each layer of cheese.
Vesa of Mast Brothers (left) layers the cheese with the shavings. Murray's Cave Manager Brian Ralph (right) -- the mastermind behind all of Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve creations -- smooths and pats down a round after layering with a chocolate shavings.
Derek Herbster of Mast Brothers gets into the rhythm of making Love at Mast.
When the layers are complete, the entire outside of the cheese is rubbed in the chocolate shavings. The cheese is ripened in Murray’s caves, flipped every few days to ensure even air flow and rind growth. The rind of the cheese will grow over the outer layer of chocolate. After a few days, each cheese will be topped with a La Red chocolate button for a sweet finish.
The finished product - Love at Mast, alongside a bar of Mast Brothers Chocolate, and Murray's new Valentine which declares "Let's Grow Mold Together". "Cheese, chocolate and mold...is there any better way to say I love you?" says Murray's.