Best Things First: Sweet Endeavor

  • Sheila Gibson Stoodley

Scharffen Berger chocolate maker (800.930.4528, www.scharffenberger.com), the producers of the world’s tastiest chocolates, does not limit itself to candy bars and gift boxes. It produces baking chocolate, chocolate sauce, truffle-making kits, and even a limited edition perfume, Cacao, which is distilled from Venezuelan cacao beans. The company was founded in 1996 by friends John Scharffenberger, who previously made California sparkling wine, and Robert Steinberg, a former physician, with the goal of producing high-quality chocolate in the European tradition. To this end, it employs vintage European chocolate-making machinery to roast, grind, and process select cacao beans at its 27,000-square-foot facility in Berkeley, Calif., which is open for factory tours.

Scharffen Berger chocolate is a key dessert ingredient for a number of fine restaurants. Aqua in San Francisco, Gramercy Tavern in New York, and Emeril’s in New Orleans are among the eateries that get their chocolate fix from the company.

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