Olive And Sinclair Chocolate Co., Company, Scott Witherow, Nashville, Tennessee, TN, Chocolate Bars, Salt and Pepper, Bean to Bar, Bean-To-Bar, Artisanal, Sean Brock recommendation, Chef Recommended, Mexican Stone Mill, Sea Salt, Salt and Pepper, Southern Artisan Chocolate, Spicy Hearts, Coffee Bar, Bongo Java, Athens, GA, Georgia, Terrapin Brewery, Cinnamon Chili Valentine Hearts



Q & A

Q & A with Scott Witherow, founder of Olive And Sinclair

Q. Tell us about Olive and Sinclair:

A. We are, to my knowledge, the only bean-to-bar makers in Tennessee and one of the only guys in the south. We make chocolate from the beans that we get from Ghana and the Dominican Republic. There are no short-cuts. We hand-sort through the beans, we roast them, clean them and then, we stone grind them. The only thing we add is brown sugar.

Q. How did you decide to use brown sugar?

A. Because we’re chocolate makers from Tennessee. It just makes sense. We really liked the molasses notes of the brown sugar, it kind of changes the harshness.

Q. You describe your chocolates as “traditional methods, modern European technique and classic Southern flavors.”

A. For the traditional, we stone grind using a Mexican stone mill. It’s probably the most basic machine in our shop, but it’s beautiful. It’s never broken down and doesn’t give us any problems. It’s just two stone wheels that grind the nibs and the liquid chocolate flows out of the bottom.

Q. And the modern European technique?

A. Conche refining. It reduces the particle sizes and smoothes it out, but it also takes some of those bitter notes away. The longer it is in the conche refiner, it gets flavorless. So we conche refine for a very minimal time, that way we keep the natural flavors. You have fruit notes which are almost citrusy and don’t lose the antioxidants that are in chocolate.

Q. And the Southern flavors?

A. Using brown sugars for one. Also our Coffee Bar, which is not a Southern flavor, but we use local roasters here in Nashville, like Bongo Java.

Q. For people who have never tasted your chocolates, how would you describe them?

A. We’re Southern chocolate makers and if you know anyone from the South, you know we’re very personable and friendly, so we want our chocolates to come across the same way.

As for taste, I encourage people to try them next to other small bean-to-bar producers like Askinosie from Missouri, which is more earthy. Or something like Patric, and you’ll see a difference.

But really, my favorite thing to have alongside our chocolates is a bottle of Priorat. That Spanish red wine with our 75% bar is awesome. It’s my favorite thing in the world. Get a bottle called Rottlan Torra, it’s more affordable.

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Q. What resources do you use that are helpful within your industry?

A. The Fine Chocolate Industry Association. It’s great way to find local producers in the states. We’re a part of it and it’s really cool.

Southern Foodways Alliance. [The study of Southern Culture]. That’s a big thing for us. We like to stay in tune and it helps us with resources.

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Q. Are there other chocolates you like?

A. I’m a fan of Scharffen Berger. I think their nib bar is very good. There is a familiarity to their chocolates. It’s a good no-frills product.

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Q. What purveyors inspire you?

A. I am a huge fan of Allan Benton of Benton’s Ham. Just one of the nicest men that has ever lived and what that man does with pig is just amazing. So, we’re big fans of his.

We are now going to use Florida Key Sea Salt. I read about them from Sean Brock’s recommendations on Find. Eat. Drink. We do a Sea Salt bar and thanks to Sean, we’re going to switch from Maldon to them. Beautiful crystals. Flat. Really nice texture, not too large. Super clean. It tastes like the ocean that I grew up visiting in Florida.

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Q. Which restaurants are your favorites in Nashville?

A. City House - without question, I’ve never had a bad meal there. It’s very simply prepared and Sundays nights are great. They call it ‘Sunday Supper’ and that’s when you’ll find more offal on the menu.

Prince’s Hot Chicken - awesome. Hot fried chicken, not wings. It’s a slow burn, with white bread, pickles and fried chicken the color of smoked paprika.

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Q. You worked in London at Nobu, any places you’d go back to?

A. The Anchor and Hope - it’s a gastropub. I love the snails and laver bread on duck fat toast. Amazing.

I also got the chance to work in the kitchen at St. John Restaurant for a few nights. Their simple bone marrow would definitely be my ‘dying meal.’

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Q. Other places from your travels?

A. When I go to Atlanta, I really like Abattoir. I always sit at the bar and my wife has to make me stop eating and stop ordering. I know it’s cliche, but we always order fries everywhere we go and hands down, they have the best. It’s owned by the same people who own Bacchanalia.

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Q. Where do you like to go in Nashville to grab a drink?

A. I’m a beer man. I go to the 12 South Tap Room. They only have microbrews on tap and they change them out regularly and they always have at least one that is cast-conditioned, which is kind of rare for here.

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Q. What beers do you like to drink?

A. We just collaborated on a beer with Terrapin Brewery. They’re great brewers out of Athens, Georgia. We made a milk chocolate stout with them called ‘Moo Hoo.’ It’s so stinking good! It drinks like soda. They use our roasted nibs and the shells. Really good.

I also like Yazoo, which is our local beer in town and we like doing stuff with them.

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Southern Artisan Chocolates

T: 615.262.300




Online and at the following retailers.



Details of Scott Witherow’s recommendations for what to eat and drink and where to eat and drink in Nashville, Atlanta, and London.



Scott Witherow making his artisanal chocolate.

Photographs courtesy of Olive and Sinclair

Photography and Editing by Josh Anderson. Editing and Title Graphic Animation by Ben Baxley.

Recommended By

- Chef Sean Brock (McCrady’s & Husk Restaurants)


Scott Witherow’s recommendations for what to eat and drink and where to eat and drink in Nashville, Atlanta, and London.