Love and Olive Oil

Nashville’s own Willy Wonka

Olive and Sinclair Southern Artisan Chocolate

Buying local seems to be a trend lately. And I think that’s weird, it shouldn’t be trendy to support those in your community. It should be second nature. We’re getting there. But there is something that makes me giddy about a local business that truly rocks. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but the fact this amazing product, this truly divine thing, is coming out of my town, well, it makes me PROUD to live where I do. As Taylor and I are owners of two small businesses ourselves, to say it’s an important part of our lives is an understatement. And so when we stumble upon another talented individual doing something fantastic locally, well, I’m going to use whatever clout this little blog of mine gives me and promote the heck out of it. So there.

Olive and Sinclair Southern Artisan Chocolate

Enter Olive and Sinclair. The artisan chocolate company based in, you guessed it, Nashville. Owner Scott Witherow magically transforms unassuming raw cocoa beans into smooth and silky chocolate bars, like our very own Willy Wonka with a Southern drawl. I’ve been subtly stalking O&S since their chocolate first debuted this summer. I had my first taste of their unique Salt & Pepper bar at the Tomato Art Fest (yes, Nashville actually has a festival celebrating all things tomato), and I was hooked.

When I saw the O&S guys again this past weekend, they made sure to continue feeding my little addiction with samples of their newest creation, Mexican-style Cinnamon Chili. Yes, you heard me correctly. And yes, it is even more amazing than it sounds.

Did they hack into my dreams? Steal my vision for the best thing I could ever even fathom tasting? So while I may have previously been a die hard Salt & Pepper fan (the chocolate bar, NOT the group) Now? My heart belongs to Cinnamon Chili.

And the best thing about local businesses? They are approachable. On a whim, I sent the guys an email politely gushing like some sort of chocolate-covered teeny bopper. And you know what? It paid off. I got a factory tour.

Can I just say that some one needs to bottle the scent of a chocolate shop and sell it. Because I would totally buy it. Taylor and I came home still sniffing our shirts because it was just so wonderful.

Raw Cocoa Beans and Cocoa Bean Roaster Tempering the Chocolate

The whole process of chocolate making is so intriguing to me. And the fact that Olive & Sinclair takes raw single-origin cocoa beans from Ghana and the Dominican Republic and transforms them into something so rich and divine, well, it’s truly amazing. When you’re eating chocolate, of any kind, you never really think about just how many steps it takes to get it there. There’s the roasting (which O&S does in a train-like coffee roaster), grinding (twice – once with an old-style stone grinder, and again with something a bit more high tech), then conching, tempering, molding, wrapping… and probably a half a dozen other steps that I can’t recall because I was too enamored with the scent and forgot to take notes. Whoops.

What makes Olive & Sinclair so special? It’s just as they describe it, Southern Artisan. Southern because the bars are made with brown sugar for an extra rich and robust flavor. Artisan because it is crafted by hand, the same hands that roast the raw beans also wrap the final bars. It’s an amazing process with an equally amazing outcome.

Olive and Sinclair Southern Artisan Chocolate

Olive & Sinclair will ship their artisan chocolate directly to you! Simply shoot them an email through their website to order. Tell them Lindsay sent you. :) I would strongly suggest you try their Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt, and the Mexican Cinnamon Chili (which should be available any day now), which are our favorites, but they have other varieties as well, including a 67% Dark, 75% Super Dark, Cocoa Nib, and Coffee Bean. Bars run $5 a piece, quite reasonable for such a decadent bar of chocolate.

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  1. Did you accept international entries? :-)

  2. and about it your giveaway on twitter =

  3. Salt and Chocolate…What a wonderful combination! This chocoholic is going to have to place an order!

  4. I am in love with those chocolate wrappers. They are simply beautiful!

  5. I would like to work in this factory ! :) i think sea salt chocolate delicious!!

  6. The wonderful smell of this plant must be :) mexican cinnamon chili bar! OMG OMG!

  7. Yum Chocolate! Even better when it’s local & delicious!

  8. O mah wonka! Please please please randomly pick me for the chocolate!

  9. I’d love to sample the sea salt chocolate! And what great packaging to boot.

  10. Goodness…how I do love “Hot” – spicy – Chocolate! My favorite thing when I lived in Nashville was the Hot Chocolate Paletas from Las Paletas!!! (something I dearly miss here in Good Old Boston!) It’s sad really, I don’t go a day without talking about Paletas (even have some amateur attempts in my fridge at this very moment mmmm…pear/ginger)

    I’m also so excited to see this post as I’m hosting a chocolate tasting in a few weeks and can’t wait to try to see if any of these delish buddies have made a Northern migration! (unless of course you pick me ;) )

    I’ve also tweeted a little bit about your contest in hopes others will bask in the chocolate splendor!!

  11. i’ve been dying to try Scott’s creations!

    pick me!!

  12. I might have to order myself some!

  13. Awesome! I’m going to Nashville for the first time this weekend, actually!

  14. I love Chocolate!

  15. that’s mighty generous of you, and i must say–mexican-style cinnamon chili chocolate sounds like perfection itself. what a nifty experience–thanks for sharing!

  16. I would be a happy girl indeed if I won this one. :)

  17. Yay for supporting local businesses!

  18. Holy yum! Spice and cinnamon and brown sugar? Count me in!

  19. Those chocolate bars sound absolutely delicious! Plus I’m a fan of anything with sea salt!

  20. that chocolate looks delicious!

  21. These look and sound amazing!

  22. These chocolate bars sound amazing! Love your website, I’m always inspired.

  23. Living near the Mexican border, I can attest to the yumminess of Mexican chocolate so this will be really good!

  24. Anything chocolate, I must have. And you make it sound so sinfully delicious! YUM.

  25. Haha, a good friend of mine won 10 pounds of chocolate from these guys at the Tomato Festival in August…and is still trying to finish it! It would be such a crazy coincidence if I win chocolate from them too!

  26. These. Look. Amazing!

  27. Mmmm, that sounds amazing! Send it to me :)

  28. Yum! Who can turn down chocolate! And after eating all your yummo cupcakes if they get a Lindsay endorsement they are definitely delicious!

  29. i would love some chocolate. I even tweeted about it.

  30. Here’s my tweet:


    @loveandoliveoil is giving away some tasty Nashville chocolate

  31. A chocolate giveaway is a great way to start the day! Yum! I love the retro packaging and the flavors sound wonderful.

  32. I love chocolate combined with something salty! The salt and pepper combo really intruiges me. Not to mention the bars and wrappers are stunning!

  33. though it seems silly that people that buying local has become a trend, I am glad to see that people are rediscovering that they can get great goods in their very own town! these chocolate bars sound amazing!

  34. Oooh, the Cinnamon Chili sounds amazing! Much better than the cheap Trader Joe’s chocolate I have in the pantry now…

  35. I want to chop all of these up and make fabulous chocolate chip cookies! Thanks so much for sharing this unique experience / product.

  36. Mmmm… chocolate. Ever since I read Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum I’ve been kind of obsessed. I would love to try these bars.

  37. You know I am SO SUPER JEALOUS of your tour but I like you, so I’ll get over it ;-)

    Just proves that great minds think alike because I came so very close to doing the same thing earlier this week before I put up my blog post about their new bar. I’m dying to get my hands on some more of it- that little sample on Saturday was not enough!

  38. and I posted on Twitter

  39. Ooooh, these look amazing! Salt and pepper chocolate sounds absolutely divine! :-)

  40. MMM I’m drooling just thinking about it!

  41. Oooh, please can Canadians play too? Those sound just divine!

  42. Wow. I read the other day that there are only a handful of chocolate makers in the US that start from the actual cocoa bean and take it through the whole process to the actual completed chocolate in one spot. YOU were really lucky to be able to see that. Sounds scrumptious!

  43. Sounds awesome! I just moved away from Tennessee–wish I had known about them when I lived there!

  44. Ooo, I got to do a factory tour at a chocolatier much like this one when I was up visiting in Seattle this spring and it was amazing (the smell really is intoxicating)! I’m so excited to here we have our own down here in the south!
    P.S. adore your blog, you always have great recipes and interesting tales to go with them! Thank you for sharing!

  45. Count me IN with first response! Mexican Cinnamon Chili Chocolate, OMG.
    You MUST take Robin on a tour when she visits you in November!

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