John S. Scharffenberger
Occupation: President and CEO of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, founded in 1996 and one of only 12 major chocolate manufacturers in the United States.
Age and home: 53, Berkeley, Calif., and Mendocino, Calif.
Employees and annual revenue: 50, $10 million.
Sweet lowdown: Scharffen Berger makes 30 products, from bars to cocoa (the 70% Chef Bar is most popular), which are sold at such retailers as Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca. Sam Adams uses Scharffen Berger to flavor its new Chocolate Bock beer.
Last year's trick: The company sold more chocolate during Chinese New Year than at Halloween thanks to molded Year of the Monkey candies.
This year's treat: Molded witches and black cats at its boutiques in Berkeley, San Francisco, and, as of this month, New York City.
Sprechen sie Deutsch? "Europeans find American chocolate inferior," says Scharffenberger. "But our prices are so competitive that all we have to worry about is getting a taste to buyers abroad before they hear that we are an American brand and say, 'Forget it.' We have a German name, so usually they don't realize this until they meet us."
Things I Can't Live Without
Rhodia notebooks, $9 each:
"I found them in France and use them for store sketches or tasting notes."
The American Woman's Cookbook, circa 1938:
"It has recipes for everything from fricasseed squirrel to chocolate souffle. I live on a farm, so it's nice to know what to do with duck eggs."
Felco pruning shears, $50:
"One of my favorite things about work is meeting with growers of the world's best cacao beans. I carry shears on my trips to collect plants for my two-acre potager garden."
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