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The June Treatsie box featured a dark and white chocolate from Nashville-based Olive & Sinclair, voted “America’s Best Chocolate” by Southern Living magazine. Founder/owner/maker Scott Witherow explains what makes his chocolate unique, and why he loves his hometown.
Treatsie: What inspired you to start Olive & Sinclair?
SW: I have been in restaurants since I was 15 and have always loved working with food. I eventually trained at LeCordon Bleu in the UK and worked all over everywhere I could in both savory and pastry, buying different chocolates from all over the world. Eventually I thought “Why can’t I make this myself?” and started making it in my last pastry kitchen for my own use. At the time I couldn’t find any other makers in the South, so I figured I should make it happen!
Treatsie: What makes your chocolate different from other brands?
SW: Everything. We call what we do Southern Artisan Chocolate™. Almost everything we do is inherently Southern, using brown cane sugars in making our darker chocolates, buttermilk for white chocolate, aging cacao in bourbon barrels, smoking cacao etc… which was more of a knee-jerk reaction initially but really makes a lot of sense. The brown cane sugar allows for a slower sweetness warm-up instead of the sugary sweetness of granulated and cane sugar hitting you a little quicker and on the front, and the molasses notes really marry well with many of the fruit notes. White chocolate has a bad rap for good reason and needs the acidity in something like buttermilk to balance the overtly sweet and fatty notes of most all other white chocolate.
Treatsie: What’s a typical day like for you?
SW: Most days we come in around 7:30 am and get right at it! We get the nibs processed from the weekend in the melangeur and begin processing the next batch while others are packaging/wrapping, molding and making different Olive & Sinclair products. Most of my day is spent talking with vendors, clients, chefs and processing orders or setting up new accounts.
Treatsie: What’s been the most rewarding part of your business?
SW: Being able to work with my friends and family. Our team here is absolutely wonderful and make every day a pleasure to work and be a part of O&S.
Treatsie: What’s next for Olive & Sinclair? Any cool, new products we can expect to see?
SW: We just launched a new line of Sea Salt & Vinegar Caramels and are about to release Duck Fat Caramels in about a month or so!
When and where was your last vacation?
Seaside, Florida! It was about a month or so ago! I love it there and need to return soon!
Favorite all-time movie?
Probably To Kill a Mockingbird, but I am not much of a movie person. I prefer records, but that is somewhat impossible to pick a favorite. Currently playing the newest Dexateen record — them boys rock!
What is your favorite thing about living in Nashville?
Everything. I was born and raised here and love everything about this town. Folks are friendly, the food scene is thriving like no other, and just so many fun old areas of town are being revitalized. I guess my favorite part about Nashville is the folks who live here. It’s nice to be surrounded by good folks.