For graduation, Ryan's mom gave him a set of Mast Brothers Chocolate Bars. These Brooklyn based bean-to-bar chocolate makers are high on my list of culinary idols. They bring their cocoa beans to from Madagascar to New York on sail boats, and create high quality craft chocolate that is hand wrapped in thick butcher style paper, printed with old maps, blueprints, wallpaper or sketches. They are quite lovely to look at and it seems almost a shame to eat them.
We needed a special occasion to a Mast Brothers chocolate, so Ryan and I decided to have a special picnic to open the first bar. We packed up a basket with homemade tarts filled with gorgonzola and topped with peaches, onions and thyme, we made salad and homemade vinaigrette, and had simple sandwiches on baguettes with El Salchichero's smoked chicken, homemade grain mustard and a mild cheese. Then we added a bottle of wine, two mason jars, and finally, the Almond and Sea Salt chocolate bar to our basket.
|Peach, Onion and Gorgonzola Tarts, and Mast Brother's Chocolate.|
|A sandwich de rue, with smoked chicken from our local butcher.|
|Off highway 1, looking over the ocean.|
I don't know what was better- our homemade picnic basket or our scenic picnic spot. We ate on a bluff overlooking the bay as the sun set out over the Pacific. We found the perfect ingredients for the best picnic I've ever had.