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Scharffen Berger Choco tour

r
Rick Mar 16, 2005 05:28 PM

Has anyone gone on the Schaffen Berger Chocolate factory tour in Berkeley and was it any good?
Any other food tour recommendations in the Bay area?

Thanks!

  1. b
    bethdean May 6, 2010 01:04 PM

    Can you still go on tours or did they close?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bethdean
      m
      milklady May 6, 2010 01:54 PM

      The factory is closed.

    2. d
      debbonow Mar 25, 2007 12:09 AM

      Fun and intersting tour. Cafe Cocoa is very good. The ladies room smelled like chocolate!

      1. Ben Brown Jul 18, 2006 06:01 AM

        I just went on the tour this past Sunday, and it was a lot of fun. The tour guide was very nice and had interesting and amusing things to say. We had a lot of chocolate during the tour, and even though the factory wasn't exactly buzzing, we did get to see the machines grinding the cacao beans and the conveyor belt shooting out chocolate bars.

        Let's put it this way -- it was a fun enough experience for me that I wanted to come here and say it was worth doing.

        I also wrote this blog post about it, which contains some pictures.

        http://www.consumating.com/blog/2006/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ben Brown
          aguynamedrobert Mar 24, 2007 12:40 PM

          I think its pretty cool that Scharffen Berger does tours...you don't find many fine chocolate makers that will let you walk through their factory...fun tour.

          Robert
          Chocolate Connoisseur

        2. l
          Liz Mar 16, 2005 08:47 PM

          The Anchor Steam Brewery tour is a winner. I think you need to make a reservation about a month in advance, though.

          Link: http://www.anchorbrewing.com/about_us...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Liz
            b
            bernalgirl Mar 17, 2005 07:48 AM

            I second the Anchor Steam tour, this is a good one. Lots of fun for a small group.

          2. w
            Wendy Lai Mar 16, 2005 06:28 PM

            We went on a Saturday, nothing was running, so kind of boring. I think the weekday tours are suppose to be more fun. The store has nice chocolat you can buy, but not at a discount or anything. I think you can get better pricing in other places.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Wendy Lai
              w
              Windy Mar 16, 2005 06:38 PM

              I completely agree. On a Saturday we sat in a room and looked at pictures of chocolate. Only one or two samples and very little factory.

              1. re: Windy
                b
                Barbara Mar 16, 2005 08:47 PM

                That's interesting cause I went with a group during the summer - on a weekday - and they gave us lots of samples, from each stage of the processing. The cafe is quite good too - good sandwiches and salads - and desserts of course.
                The Jelly Belly factory tour is fun too - but do go on a weekday to really see it in action.

                1. re: Windy
                  b
                  bernalgirl Mar 17, 2005 07:46 AM

                  What a bummer! On a weekday we saw each stage of the process and were given lots of samples to try, so that we could get a sense of what the percentages mean in practice.

                  The cafe had not yet opened, but we enjoyed hot chocolate in the waiting area/store.

                  1. re: Windy
                    a
                    AppleSister Mar 17, 2005 09:30 AM

                    I also went on a weekday last September and was impressed by the impassioned explanation of the process, especially how moist and gross cacao seeds get, and the multiple samples of the process and their varieties. I've been to other chocolate-making factories, and this was the most informative.

                    They also make you wear hairnets and bright red ear muffs, which make for good photos :)

                  2. re: Wendy Lai
                    r
                    Rick Mar 18, 2005 02:06 PM

                    Hi Wendy-

                    You mention the candy pricing at the factory is not all that good- any recommendations on where to buy their candy at reasonable prices? Is their candy available pertty much everywhere?

                    Thank you

                    1. re: Rick
                      w
                      Windy Mar 18, 2005 05:35 PM

                      Lowest prices are at the Berkeley Bowl or at Trader Joe's, which has a slightly different label but does say Scharffenberger on it. Worst prices are at SFO--perhaps 100% markup.

                  3. l
                    Louise Mar 16, 2005 06:24 PM

                    In Fairfield is the Jelly Belly factory tour. Live during the week, taped on weekends.

                    1. e
                      ed Mar 17, 2005 11:35 AM

                      i know the hershey's plant in oakdale is open for tours, so i suppose the original plant in pennsylvania is as well.

                      1. l
                        Liz B Mar 16, 2005 06:19 PM

                        The Scharffen Berger tour is fun, but the factory store is even more fun (nothing but the tour is free, unfortunately). It's a great old brick building, and I believe that SB is the only chocolate maker in the US to open its factory doors to the public on an ongoing basis.

                        Don't know about any other food tours, but you might make an extended outing of the SB tour by following up with a stop at the adjoining Cafe Cacao and/or Bittersweet on College Ave. in Oakland (try the European hot chocolate and the dark chocolate French-style macaroon).

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