By now you’ve either seen it on the news, read it in an email or heard about it from a colleague: Berkeley’s beloved Sharffen Berger chocolate factory is closings its doors. San Francisco’s Joseph Schmidt, maker of decadent, artistic truffles, will also be closing shop.
In 2005 both chocolate companies were bought by Hershey Co. Rumor on the web’s comments boards has it that Hershey “swore up and down they would not alter their new subsidiaries’ business or products,” but now Hershey is closing the original manufacturing plants. The chocolate production will be consolidated at factories in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Even talking about these fine chocolates in terms of “production” makes me sad — whatever happened to “crafting” artisan chocolates? Only time will tell whether Hershey maintains the high quality for which Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt chocolates are renowned.
I am glad that I’ll still be able to buy Scharffen Berger chocolate (provided it still tastes as good!) but will miss the Berkeley factory. It was less than two weeks ago when we dropped by to try the latest chocolates at the factory store. The store was packed with students waiting for a tour that afternoon; little did they know they would be one of the last tours to pass through the factory.
For now, all I can say is so long, sweet Scharffen Berger.