Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hershey to Close local Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt facilities

Even as Hershey's profits are up 51%, the chocolate giant has decided to close down two local manufacturing plants, Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt, part of their Artisan Confections Co, and consolidate production at out of state facilities. This comes as quite a blow to local chocolate aficionados. Although Hershey already makes the majority of its Scharffen Berger products in its newly upgraded plant in Robinson, Ill, the plant closures will affect about 150 employees from both facilities.

A Hershey spokesman 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." This did not provide me and many other fans of the high quality chocolate feel any better. Both brands have created a strong legacy and helped increased the popularity of high-end, gourmet chocolates around the country.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Chocolate Challenge

Everyone loves Chocolate! What could be more tempting than building a structure completely from chocolate? In this case, chocolate and chocolate related foods. TeamBuilding has never been so sweet!

Maybe Julie Barker from Meetings Industry Megasite explains it best:

Meetings Industry Megasite

Entertain with Chocolate by Julie Barker

On the West Coast, Janet Rudolph runs a Berkeley, CA, company called TeamBuilding Unlimited that features a "chocolate challenge." She divides the group into teams of four or five people, furnishes chocolate-covered graham crackers, M&Ms, chocolate Gummy Bears, Hershey bars—"anything you can think of that is made of chocolate. We go for different shapes, sizes, and textures, not high-end chocolate."

Groups then compete to build a structure. One HMO firm had its teams build their ideal hospitals. Another group set its teams to designing resorts. The result "has to stand up on its own and, except for the white cardboard base, has to be completely edible," says Rudolph. Teams are given about an hour to design and build, and then they have to present the results. "Half the fun is explaining why they did what they did," she says.

For more info on this and on our High End Chocolate Tasting, contact Janet Rudolph or Frank Price at TeamBuilding Unlimited/Murder on the Menu.