Put on your thinking caps, readers, ’cause it’s trivia time. Today’s question: The Santa Barbara micro-batch company Twenty-Four Blackbirds takes its name from “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” the classic nursery rhyme. Which gourmet edible item featured in the song do they make?
A) Rye whiskey in vintage bottles (“…pocket full of rye…”)
B) Free-range meat pies (“four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie”)
C) Artisanal breads (“the queen was in the kitchen, eating bread…”)
D) Raw local honey (“…and honey…”)
E) Screw the lyrics, they make chocolate!
Okay I guess I gave it away. They make chocolate. Very good chocolate.
Twenty-Four Blackbirds is the brainchild of Mike Orlando, a marine biologist/aquarist whose scientific training has clearly prepared him well for the rigor and research involved in high-end chocolate entrepreneurship. Orlando seems to run every bit of the process, from testing and building chocolate-making equipment to designing and printing labels. He’s obviously detail-oriented – he apparently brands the wooden delivery boxes with a custom brand iron. That’s dedication. And best of all, he’s clearly a chocolate wizard.
I bought this half-ounce bar, the 75% cacao Oko Caribe, for $2.50. I love the tiny size! Not only is it adorable, but alongside a cup of coffee, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up while I studied. Twenty-Four Blackbirds is a bean-to-bar operation; the cacao in this chocolate comes from a single source in the Duarte province of the Dominican Republic. Also, it contains no additives whatsoever, just cacao and sugar.
The bar is beautiful and nicely slim, with a perfectly executed feather imprint. It snaps cleanly and blooms with heat (you can see a fingerprint I left trying to set up this photo). The flavor is smoky and smooth, starting off with overtones of coffee. I got a nice creamy melt, and then a little lift of acidity at the end – not too harsh, but bright, like blackberries and honey. This little chocolate packs a big, complex taste experience that’s totally worth a try.
If you like chocolate, read more of my Very Dark Chocolate tasting reviews by clicking here!