Western toad painting by Carl Dennis Buell

Birding and other pleasures and aggravations, in Berkeley and beyond, by Ron Sullivan.

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January 28, 2009

To Hell with Hershey

Impaling a foil-wrapped Kiss on a skewer over my sacrificial fire of oleander twigs and Crisco, casting a protective rectangle of ground almonds and glass, and raising my kitchen athame to the East, I summon the grave-seasoned wraith of Milton Snavely Hershey to arise and smite his corporate heirs for the offense of shutting down ScharffenBerger and Joseph Schmidt Chocolates in Berkeley, which they acquired with predictably low and dishonest motives a mere couple of years ago.

May they be cursed with waxen palates and bad teeth.
May they be cursed with chronic respiratory infections and copious snot production for ever and ever.
May the taste of honest chocolate turn to the taste of shit in their mouths instantly for the rest of their miserable lives.
May their children change their surnames out of embarrassment and use their endowments to subvert their parents’ fondest dreams.
May they suffer undiagnosed diabetes for at least three decades each.
May they wake up tomorrow morning face-down in frozen cowpatties on any of the Hershey School farms that still have cows.
May they then be tied upside-down to the dummy sleds for the football team and forgotten there after practice is over.
May they be visited by ambitious vultures as soon as the weather warms up in Pennsylvania.
May those vultures be scared off once or twice and, in leaving, vomit up their noses.

This curse I call down in the sacred names of Saint Julia Child, the Blessed MFK Fisher, the Reverend Gary Nabhan, the Provisionally OK So Far Mostly Michael Pollan, and all the angels of chow and spirits of spirits in this world and the next.

I have spoken.



1 | By: Sally Mack on January 28, 2009 at 10:32 PM

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Somebody’s feeling better. . .

2 | By: siriosa on January 29, 2009 at 12:16 AM

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so mote it be.

3 | By: kathy a on January 29, 2009 at 06:09 PM

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my sisters and i are also in mourning, but we’ve got NOTHING approaching the poetry of this post.  may the hersheys and all their bank accounts be smitten.

4 | By: kathy a on January 29, 2009 at 06:14 PM

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my husband, whom my sisters have never quite forgiven for leaving that job at ghirardelli, reminds us that ghirardelli is still good stuff.  to which my scharfenberger-loving sister says, hmph.  and i think, i’m never going to see an artistic truffle so lovely and delicious as a joseph schmidt, ever again.

5 | By: Ron Sullivan on January 29, 2009 at 08:22 PM

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Sally: Nastier.

kathy: Adding salt to the wound, of course, is that I’ve always been kinda hometown patriotic about Hershey. Oh—I don;t think it’s under the control of any Hersheys any more. IIRC, Milton S. left no direct descendants.

And oh yes about those truffles.

6 | By: kathy a on January 30, 2009 at 01:07 PM

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so—i called scharffenberger’s factory today, to find out how long they will be open for tours and such.  THE TOURS ARE ALREADY GONE!  the brokenhearted receptionist says the cafe and retail store are still open!  but she does not know for how long.  and she misses the tours.

7 | By: kathy a on January 30, 2009 at 01:29 PM

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who isn’t kind of patriotic about hershey’s?  it was comfort food in my family, growing up.  there is FAR worse chocolate in the world—that waxy stuff, for example.

but hershey’s is starter chocolate.  safe.  mild. widely known. every single bar the same utilitarian block.  and scharffenberger and schmidt—were not.  would you trust mcdonald’s to carry on the chez panisse tradition, or even that of a local diner that is affordable but special?  i think not.  these were gourmet chocolatiers.  they were ours.

i guess this may be yet another in the cascade of losses to the economic times, whatever teh hell that means.  locally, it means not just losing our good chocolate, but also that dedicated people are losing jobs.  and blah blah.

8 | By: Narya on February 2, 2009 at 08:22 AM

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If it makes any of you feel better, the Belgian Chocolatier is still in business, in Evanston, IL—handmade blahblah and so on, using Callebaut, I believe, and omg are they good.

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