Episode 4: Big, Bad Chocolate
We open at the brand-new Manhattan retail outlet for the Mast Brothers, the bearded Brooklyn bros who have become the poster children of faux authenticity, and we tell their sordid saga: The Brothers were the first craft chocolate makers to break out, only to be exposed a few years later for remelting and reselling industrial chocolate. The lesson: In the world of chocolate, packaging is everything, and deceit is everywhere. That lesson hits home at Whole Foods, where chocolate expert Clay Gordon walks us through the virtue-signaling brands, all of which turn out to be produced or owned by industrial giants like Hershey. And that’s a problem, because Big Chocolate has a nasty child-slavery habit in West Africa. The system is so huge and corrupt that no one can fix it…the only option is to build a new system. We ride shotgun in Belize and Guatemala with Emily Stone, a young activist who has set out to do just that…But that means facing down dangers Emily never could have imagined, including machete wielding coyotes. Making great chocolate, it turns out, is really hard…and no one knows that better than Luisa Abram. The first chocolate she makes with cacao from the Santo Daime cult…is disgusting. It takes years to figure out why. But once she discovers the secret, her business takes off…and just in time, because she’s about to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…and it’s going to take everything she has to pull it off.