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.