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Scharffen Berger Berkeley factory to close


StephMac
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Just spotted the news that Hershey's is closing the Scharffen Berger factory in Berkeley, CA and the Joseph Schmidt factory in San Francisco:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...5I9DV.DTL&tsp=1

This makes me sad... even if most of the production had moved elsewhere, it was still nice to have that original, local connection.

If you want to go on the (free!) Scharffen Berger factory tour, better make your reservations sooner than later!

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That is sad. I went on the Scharffen Berger tour a couple of years ago and it was really interesting. That's the only tour that I've found that actually took you through the factory from beans to bars.

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I've taken the Scharffenberger tour a couple of times, when I was in Cupertino for some computer classes at HP. We drove up to Berkeley and found it was really easy to find the place...just follow your nose to the "chocolate smell".

When you take the tour, try to stay in the back of the group. They passed out samples of the various chocolates so the guys in the back are caught holding the basket of samples. We were in the front the first time, but did manage to snag a few more samples when they put the basket on the table before beginning the factory tour. We lucked out because we were one of the first groups to sample their newly released chocolate sauce at the time.

On the second tour, we were in the back and got to munch on *LOTS* of dark chocolate samples. The basket was almost empty when I returned it to the table. :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

To put the icing on the cake, Alice Medrich was visiting the factory after we finished the tour so we got to spend several minutes talking with her an reminiscing about her Cocolat shoppe in Berkeley, which was the whole reason I got into making truffles. Once she closed, it was very difficult to find high quality truffles in Hawaii, so I learned to make my own.

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In a different topic someone asked why SB was found in a dollar store. I dropped them from my store's line up when they were bought out because no matter what commitments to quality were made, it wasn't a good sign in my eyes. So to hear they are in dollar stores and now are closing their plants...I'll just bite my tongue. Its unfortunate.

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This news is very disconcerting, coming as it does, on top of that other curious fact, that the Dollarama stores in Ontario...no price of anything is more than one dollar...is selling Scharrfen Berger chocolate bars for $1. They normally retail for $5 USD. The 82% dark and the 41% milk.

I actually phoned the Berkeley outlet a few days ago and spoke to a young woman there who was astounded that the bars were selling for $1. They don't even make a profit on $1 she said (if I understood correctly).

The bars are distributed by a Canadian outfit based in BC. Others on the 'Fine Chocolate' thread answered my questions about the low price with suggestions of past due dates...nope...or buyout of some bankruptcy somewhere. Strange...

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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No doubt Hershey's didn't want the SharffenBerger brand competing with Hershey's "gourmet" line of chocolate products. As if.

This is so disappointing. SB has pretty much been the ONLY reliable chocolate available for purchase in my town (without ordering online, I mean).

Sigh.

Laurie Bergren

"Here let us feast, and to the feast be join'd discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind." Pope's Homer

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last year i took my entire staff on a foodie adventure in berkeley, to thank them for a job well done, and to advance their food knowledge. the scharrfenberger tour was among the highlights. (meeting alice waters at the cafe was also pretty great...)

i have taken that tour about 5 times, and learned something new each time. (one of the most interesting--that chocolate smell really changes on your skin and hair after an 8 hr shift, and doesn't smell like delicious cacao on the BART ride home. two employees told me that no one will sit next to them, as it oxidizes (or some chemical reaction i don't understand) into a rather unpleasant odor after a while on the skin...)

i'm so sad, even though it appears that the chocolate will continue to be manufactured...won't be the same.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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This news is very disconcerting, coming as it does, on top of that other curious fact, that the Dollarama stores in Ontario...no price of anything is more than one dollar...is selling Scharrfen Berger chocolate bars for $1.  They normally retail for $5 USD.  The 82% dark and the 41% milk.

I actually phoned the Berkeley outlet a few days ago and spoke to a young woman there who was astounded that the bars were selling for $1.  They don't even make a profit on $1 she said (if I understood correctly).

The bars are distributed by a Canadian outfit based in BC.  Others on the 'Fine Chocolate' thread answered my questions about the low price with suggestions of past due dates...nope...or buyout of some bankruptcy somewhere.  Strange...

Thanks for the tip. I went to the Dollarama in Sarnia and they also had the 62% and 70%. I enjoyed a piece of the 41%( which curiously has less calories than any other %)

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Very sad news.  David Lebovitz has a really good post from when the founder, Robert Steinberg, died.  Nice post:  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2008..._steinberg.html

I wonder if it would have happened were Robert Steinberg still living. Although the company had been sold, I read somewhere that he was still involved in it. He was quite passionate about the company, so I don't know that he would have let leave CA that easily.

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