Archive | January, 2009

Hershey to Close Down Scharffen Berger’s Berkeley Chocolate Factory

28 Jan

Dude, what the fuck.

Sorry, I have to use profanity here.  Hersey, which bought Scharffen Berger back in 2005, said Tuesay that it plans on closing its West Berkeley chocolate factory sometime this year.


Hershey already makes most of the chocolate labeled as Scharffen Berger at its Robinson, Illinois plant.

Hersey spokesman Kirk Saville said: “We will continue to source the world’s best cacao to create our rich and distinct chocolate.  We will maintain the highest quality standard for all our artisan productions.”

That’s like someone saying they’re going to make Burgundy in California.  Californian pinot noirs can be great, but they are never going to be Burgundies.

What a terrible time for Sharffen Berger fans, Berkeleyites, and foodies everywhere.  What a terrible time, too, for John Sharffenberger, who in 1996 founded the company with his doctor friend Robert Steinberg.

Steinberg died of cancer in September of last year.  Deborah Kwan, a publicist for Sharffen Berger, uttered perhaps the saddest words I’ve read in a while: “I’m glad Robert is not alive to see this.

“If the lymphoma hadn’t taken him, this would have.”

(Thank you to the SF Chronicle for the primary article and North Bay Bohemian’s BohoBlog for the picture.)


The Antithesis of Everything Alex Likes: “Chouffe Houblon,” or, A Pleasant Surprise

13 Jan

There are certain immutable truths in life.  Here are two.

(1) My roommate Alex does not like Belgian beers.
(2) My roommate Alex does not like hops.

Of course, as with any immutable truth there are gray areas. However, as far as beer and Alex are concerned, these two truths might as well be the laws of the universe.

While we were drinking at Mission Wines over my winter break, I remarked to one of the associates how much I liked IPAs–for instance, I loved the Craftsman Brewing Company‘s IPA that Mission Wines had on tap.  I then complained about Sam Adams’s Imperial Pilsner, which I had had a year or so previously and loved but which seemed incredibly out of whack for this most recent iteration (crazy hops married with a syrupy texture is not a good idea in my book).

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A New Year and a Whole Lotta Bottles of Wine

11 Jan

Another year, another few scores of bottles of wine.  I’m not sure if the start of a new year necessarily engenders hope and thankfulness–usually, I feel more of a mix of relief and a creeping feeling that maybe my life is slipping past me–but 2009 in Washington, DC, has found me in a very thankful mood.

For one, I’m living in a nice, comfortable apartment with great food.  I have a wonderful family that I appreciate more as I get older; great friends.  I am going to a good law school with outstanding professors and classes.  I have nothing to complain about, and I am going to try to be more appreciative of the incredible opportunities I’ve been given.

To kick off the new year, my roommate and I hosted a champagne and sparkling wine tasting, the details of which will be coming out in the upcoming Nota Bene (GW Law student newspaper); I will write up my blog observations on that evening a bit later.  Suffice it to say that the big winner in the tasting were a beautiful sparkler from France, the Charles de Fere Blanc de Blanc Reserve Brut ($12.99)–was, as I described it, “the group’s favorite, with a nose of hazelnut and toast, a light, almost ethereal mouthfeel, and notes of apple and pear.”

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