Got back from the Scharffen-Berger tour, the weekend edition is definitely not worth the long drive - especially following Yahoo maps' directions which landed me on the wrong side of the incredibly messed up 580-880-80 interchange in both directions. Should have taken 24 to upper Berkeley and taken normal streets. Or walked from the nearest BART, if there is one.
In a nutshell, despite having to double their output thanks to the new owners, they have no weekend production after Saturday morning. So instead of seeing a chocolate factory in action, we saw what looked like a museum.
The tour guide was good, though she could stand a lesson in public speaking - just one lesson: When they tell you to speak up, it means higher volume, not pitch. Lots of good info, and we got to taste three types of chocolate, a few nibs and a couple of beans. The tasting was pitched at the masses - they did not give samples of the 82% which is (IMHO) their best, and they did give samples of two milk chocolates, which I wouldn't spend S-B prices on.
The gift shop was not exactly a rip-off, but everything was at MSRP, I can get it the same or cheaper at Piazzi's. But as I was out of 82%, and it was the same price as locally, and I had a cooler packed with blue ice in the car, I bought a dozen. In the process I gave the cashier a math lesson. They had a "special" on a 36-pack of 1-oz bars (regular $99, special $79) but the 3-oz bars were $71.50 a dozen. 3x12 is also 36, so the same amount of chocolate at regular price in the bigger bars was less than the "on-sale" 1-oz bars. Why pay for the wrappers?
Also picked up a very nice branded coffee cup ($11 - worth maybe $6), a package of nibs and a tin of unsweetened cocoa powder.
With the potentially melting chocolate in the car, I drove straight home. Would have liked to play a little in Berkeley, but them's the breaks. Now that I know better about the prices, I'll have to book a tour for when they are making chocolate. The photos I got are not worth posting, dull art shots. The only reason I took them was to see how the new camera does raw+jpeg fine and to test the audio on the camcorder.
Went to Best Buy hoping to look at HD radios, but they had none. They also didn't have the i-link-to-firewire cable I need for the camcorder, though I just noticed my laptop has an i-link connector. But I'd rather do the video stuff on the bigger faster tower PC.