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PRODUCT REVIEW: Scharffen Berger Chocolate

The Scharffen Berger logo features an
ibex mountain goat and three stars.
In 1996, winemaker John Scharffenberger and physician Robert Steinberg made a mark in the history of chocolate, shaping the current trend of “micro” (small-batch) chocolate bar production in the U.S. and, as a result, decentralizing the production of fine chocolate bars in Europe. Their fine artisan chocolate grew so popular with consumers and pastry chefs that, in less than 10 years, they helped build a great demand for artisan chocolate in America and were purchased by the country’s largest chocolate maker, Hershey. The line is certified kosher by OU.

Buying a gourmet chocolate bar used to be as simple as choosing from a slender selection of milk, dark or the occasional white chocolate bars (See Peter Rot’s review of the world’s best white chocolate bars), some embellished with nuts or dried fruits. Dark chocolate might be labeled “semisweet” or “bittersweet,” without any other indication.

A lot has changed in the last ten years, as more people have become focused on learning about chocolate (and all categories of fine food). Today, there is an amazing diversity of chocolate for the asking, thanks to consumer interest and to passionate chocolate makers who produce couverture and bars from raw cacao beans. (See Peter Rot’s choices of the best microbatch chocolate makers in America—individuals or tiny companies that produce great bars.)

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