Monday, August 3, 2015

Twenty-Four Blackbirds - 75% Cedeno bar - Aug. 3, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Twenty-Four Blackbirds
75% Cedeno (small bar)
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: .5 oz. (14 g.) in one small bar
Calories: 75 calories (estimate) for 1 bar
Cost: $2.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Plum Goods, Santa Barbara, CA

Welcome to Day #13 of Chocolate and Santa Barbara Theme Week.

I couldn't leave Santa Barbara without featuring bean-to-bar chocolate from Twenty-Four Blackbirds (Santa Barbara, CA).

The company's single origin chocolates were swathed in brown paper wrappers with black type and graphics; and the overall aesthetic provided a good example of effective design. Great design is simple, clear and not overly complicated. (The bar's long thin, rectangular shape was imprinted with a single feather pattern -- that tied back to the blackbird name/theme.) Unfortunately, my photos don't do justice to the packaging.

Today's 75% Cedeno bar was small in size -- only .5 oz. (14 grams), but big on flavor. This hand-made artisan dark chocolate bar was made with two ingredients: cacao beans from Ecuador and organic sugar. And, it was bold, flavorful, fruity, and well balanced chocolate.

I don't know if these were Trinitario beans or CCN-51* beans. CCN-51 cacao trees were first bred in Ecuador to create, shorter, more resilient trees and cacao pods (that contain seeds to make chocolate, also known as beans). CCN-51 beans now make up a substantial portion of the cacao that is exported from Ecuador to chocolate makers in other countries, but there have been concerns, at least initially, about flavor. (Breeding for resilience can sometimes result in the loss of more delicate flavors or aromas in plants and flowers.)

If this bar was made with CCN-51 cacao beans, bars like this might help alleviate concerns.

Regardless, great chocolate requires good beans to start with and skillful care in every step of the chocolate-making process to end up with great tasting chocolate. And both requirements seemed to have been met here.

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