I’ve been eyeing Southern Artisan Chocolate for a long time. I’ve seen it at a few places, but I picked these up at my local Whole Foods. Seeing a picture of their Sea Salt bar on Instagram reminded me that I needed to knock these off of my list of must-try chocolates! And my list for must-try chocolates keeps growing and growing as I am learning more about what chocolatiers and chocolate makers are out there.
Southern Artisan Chocolate is actually by Olive and Sinclair Chocolate, who pride themselves in being the first and only bean to bar maker in Tennessee. Olive and Sinclair started in 2007, and their Southern Artisan Chocolate is specifically their bean to bar line, which was started in 2009. Their chocolate is unique by using Southern flavoring in their chocolate bars. The two bars I tried here don’t seem entirely different from other similarly flavored bars, but their website definitely has some unique items. I had no idea that Duck Fat Caramels existed! Other items I saw on their website that struck me as being unique and Southern were Bourbon Nib Brittle, Smoked Nib Brittle, and Salt & Pepper Buttermilk White Chocolate.
The scent of chili and cinnamon smacked me in the face once I unwrapped the Cinnamon Chili bar. My eyes started to water with how strong the spiciness was. When biting into the chocolate, it had a gritty texture. The flavor of chili gradually grew stronger as the chocolate melted and the cinnamon was hanging out in the background. I also detected what tasted like salt in the chocolate. Sure enough, in the ingredients list “kosher salt” is listed. The end of my bite and aftertaste consisted of just the chili flavor.
These chocolate bars are made from stone ground cacao, according to the packaging. I know Taza makes stone ground chocolate, which has a gritty texture I like. I’m not sure if the grittiness in this bar is due to the spices or the cacao having been stone ground because the Sea Salt bar (below) was very smooth in texture.
The Sea Salt bar smelled like bright citrus and I could barely smell the sea salt itself. With the salt side down on my tongue, I immediately tasted the sea salt and those strong bright citrus notes. The texture was very smooth and the bar gave a very pleasant clean snap when broken apart. My bite melted easily and relatively quickly in my mouth. The chocolate became sweeter as it melted and continued the bright citrus notes, which lingered in the aftertaste. I liked how the sea salt was not too much nor too little. I liked the balance of flavors in this bar, and the fact that it didn’t have any strong or acidic flavors to it. I like it a lot!
I’m very curious about those unique items I saw on Olive and Sinclair’s website, but I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to try them just yet. I’ve never even tasted duck fat on its own before!
Olive and Sinclair/Southern Artisan Chocolate: Made in Nashville, TN