I used to buy Scharffen Berger chocolate, but now that Hershey bought out the company and left Berkeley, I don't know where to buy local chocolate. I've been buying bags of Guittard chips at the supermarket, but I'd like something better.Well, Dan, you're in luck. We live in one of the best American cities for locally produced chocolate.
Scharffen Berger revolutionized the way Americans think about chocolate
by openly describing the production process ― where they sourced
their beans, how chocolate is made, and the difference between companies
who make chocolate "from bean to bar" and confectioners who make sweets out of that chocolate. (Self-pimp: If you have a couple of
has followed the company's playbook, producing chocolate from beans, talking about
the flavor profiles of specific varietals, and giving tours of its
The Bay Area is also home to three major chocolate producers who
have been around for much longer than Scharffen Berger. Of course, you know about Ghiardelli (of which I'm no big fan). Belgium-based Barry Callebaut ― one of the stalwarts in the confectionary world ― also has a production facility in American Canyon.
For my money, Guittard is the company you want to shift your allegiance
to. Founded shortly after the Gold Rush, this San Francisco company, now
based in Burlingame, introduced its premium E.
Guittard line in 2001. Guittard CEO Gary Guittard,
great-grandson of founder Emile, pored over his grandfather's journals
and brought out the old equipment to make small batches of high-quality chocolate. E. Guittard bars, many of which are made from single-origin beans, can be found all over town.
Many of the Bay Area's best confectionery makers use E. Guittard. Kathy Wiley of Dogpatch-based Poco Dolce, for example, is happy to state that she primarily uses the chocolate. Charles Chocolates, Recchiuti Confections, and Coco-luxe
also confirmed to me that they use E. Guittard, blended with chocolate
from other producers to suit their tastes. "I think
it's a great local brand," Coco-luxe's Stephanie Marcon says.
So don't hold back, D.F. Eat yourself sick, knowing that the cacao beans you're consuming were roasted, ground, conched, and tempered nearby. No need to resort to chocolate chips ever again.