The traditional limits of chocolate are being stretched to the gills on East Haley Street, where Twenty-Four Blackbirds founder Mike Orlando is now growing cacao plants, experimenting with fermentation techniques, and envisioning novel ways to turn this tropical species into edible treats. His latest ready-for-consumption idea is pâte de fruits — which is really just a fancy way to say gummy candies — made from fresh cacao juice. “We’re the only company in the world making these,” said Orlando of the vegan treats, which, with cinnamon and spearmint touches, taste a bit like bites of apple pie. And if you’d prefer to stick with his truffles, he’s recently perfected ones that blend turmeric and ginger, cardamom and black peppercorn, and a pseudo-bourbon flavor eerily reminiscent of an Old Fashioned cocktail.
428 E. Haley St., (805) 464-6074; twentyfourblackbirds.com