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Local Chocolate Confectioneries Shutting Doors

Berkeley's Scharffen Berger factory to shut down within the year


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Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, known for their divine, gourmet chocolates, will be closing their local West Berkeley factory later this year. Hershey Co., which bought the East Bay company in 2005, will continue to make the popular artisan chocolate but at their Robinson, Illinois, plant, where much of the chocolate was already made. Scharffen Berger's retail store at San Francisco's Ferry Building will remain open. Another victim of Hershey's consolidation plans—and the grim economy—is San Francisco gourmet truffle maker Joseph Schmidt, which will shut down its San Francisco factory in April and its San Francisco and San Jose retail stores soon after that. Schmidt truffles will also continue to be produced at Hershey's Illinois factory. The local plant closures will affect a total of about 150 employees at both companies, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Founded in 1996 by friends John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg, Scharffen Berger was one of the pioneers of the recent artisan chocolate craze, and quickly became popular among the Bay Area foodie community for their meticulously crafted, gourmet chocolate. The company opened their 27,000-square foot, brick and mortar, factory in West Berkeley in 2001, including behind-the-scenes tours and a downstairs cafe, and was bought out by Hersheys soon after. CLICK HERE to read more about Scharffen Berger's local legacy in our 2007 Diablo Food Awards issue.