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.
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.
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 & 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.