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Chocolate Shut-down: Bye, Bye Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt

In 2005, when Hershey's made a high-profile, high-value acquisition of beloved local chocolate company, Scharffen Berger, San Francisco artisanal chocolate lovers wagged their tongues, another case of big fish eating little fish. Local customers were assured that the Berkeley-based company would change little in the face of the acquisition, that the chocolate would remain the same and that it would still be made here in the Bay Area.

Well, we know how this story ends. I can't say I was surprised when I read today that Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt (another local company owned by Hershey's) will both be closing. Another terrible ending to this local food story—saddest of all was publicist Deborah Kwan's statement that if founder Robert Steinberg hadn't died last year, this news surely would have killed him.