Saturday, November 15, 2008

from Rennea

Renie Joie taped it with Jamie's camera (I think)
I added the subtitles in case the sound doesn't come out well.
Voil√° Roberre, here is a song for you: Oye Roberto

from Theresa

Nancy Steinberg, Robert's sister, thanking all the volunteers and people who donated goods and services for the celebration

Hi Alice,

Yes, it was a wonderful event. I enjoyed hearing all the stories and reconnecting with old friends. I'm sorry I wasn't able to stay to help with the clean up! Here's a link to some of the photos I took. Please feel free to share.

Celebrate Robert

more from Susie

Here is a link to Susie's set of pictures
of Robert's Celebration on November 9th, 2008
Robert Steinberg Memorial

from Susie

This week Robert Steinberg, one of the forces behind ScharffenBerger Chocolate Maker, passed away after many years of fighting cancer.

I’m happy to have known this brilliant, passionate man who started as a doctor then dedicated his life to creating a high quality dark chocolate as well as educating the palates of many. I tell people Scharffen Berger was the first great American dark chocolate. (Remember when Special Dark was the only American dark chocolate?)

I remember the the thrill of first hearing about Scharffen Berger, in a long profile in the San Francisco Chronicle, when the company was in its original location.

copied by permission from Susie's blog

Then when volunteering for Transfair USA on Fair Trade chocolate, in 2001, we were giddy about being able to visit Robert at the new factory in Berkeley. I’d never met someone like Robert, with such fervor and deep scientific knowledge of cacao beans (back before the word “cacao” emblazoned the labels of every high end chocolate bar).

We learned the company was already paying its suppliers a price higher than required for Fair Trade certification. Their main concern was getting the best quality beans possible and educating more cacao growers on how to process their beans for quality.

Most memorably, he wanted us to truly understand the difference in chocolate flavor (mainly Fair Trade vs not). We held a chocolate taste test along with chocolate luminary Alice Medrich, attributed with introducing the chocolate truffle to America many years ago.

When I went to Paris, Robert gave me some bars to take the picture above (which now so au courant, with the Jeff Koonz show at Versailles.) After hearing he learned to make chocolate at Bernachon in France, I took a side trip through Lyon to see what Bernachon was all about. I decided I liked Scharffen Berger chocolate better.

Fair Trade chocolate has come a long way in just a few years, as has Scharffen Berger chocolate. Now you’ll find it in many stores thanks to their acquisition by Hershey. I imagine Robert was proud to have influenced the quality of Hershey as well as other large chocolate brands.

Knowing Robert has left this world is bittersweet but I’m sure he’s enjoying the great chocolate factory in the sky. Learn more about Robert on the Scharffen Berger website.

copied from Susie Wyshak's blog:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

from Deborah

An Appreciation of Robert Steinberg

I first met Robert in April 1997. Agnes Lord told me about her friend Dr. Robert Steinberg who was starting a chocolate company with John Scharffenberger. She said they were looking for a public relations consultant and she’d recommended me. Robert brought a sample of his chocolate for me to taste. It was an early batch of the bittersweet 70% and was unlike any chocolate I’d had at that point – bold, fruity, and memorable. We talked of his life journey and why he and John started the company. The meeting must have gone well because I was asked to meet with John and was subsequently hired. The next several years were enormously exciting, rewarding and fun for me. I know that in the beginning, Robert had his doubts about PR and my methods, especially when he had to be convinced to pose with John buried up to their necks in cocoa beans for a magazine shoot! He came around though.

Long after I stopped working with Scharffen Berger, Robert always found the time to call me whether it was to gripe about a poorly researched article about chocolate, a book he was reading, who he was dating, his physical state, an under-the-radar restaurant find, or a new batch of cocoa beans that had come in. I was thrilled that he was feeling so healthy for most of 2008. He was traveling a lot and we only saw each other in passing – at the Orson opening, outside Bi-Rite Market where he purchased pickled herring regularly and at the Golden Glass event at Fort Mason in July where I bumped into him in a typical Robert pose - wine glass in one hand and head angled to one side while surveying the crowd with quizzical amusement.

I miss him enormously – his kindness, warmth, occasional rants and his sheer passion for life. I have been holding onto my last two limited edition bars – Porcelana and Jamaica √† l’ancienne, but finally feel ready to open them up.

Robert, thank you so much for your friendship and your impact on my life which continues to grow as I meet the people who were so important to you.

Deborah Kwan

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to get to St. Georges Spirits - Robert's Celebration

These are really good directions
Our address is 2601 Monarch Street,
Alameda, CA 94501. Our phone number is
(510) 769-1601.

From San Francisco:
Go across the Bay Bridge and stay in right
lanes for 880-S to San Jose and Alameda.
Take the Broadway/Alameda exit and turn
right at the signal onto 5th. Stay in right lane
to Alameda. After the third light, angle left
into the Alameda tube. Follow Alameda
directions below.

From Berkeley and the North:
On 80-W stay in left of center lanes at the
MacArthur maze to San Jose and Alameda to 880 S. Take the Broadway/Alameda exit and turn right at the
signal onto 5th. Stay in left lane to Broadway and angle left to the Alameda tube. Follow Alameda
directions below.

From the East (Concord, etc.):
Take 24 to Oakland (980). Take 12th Street Exit straight ahead to 5th Street (just past 880 overpass). Turn left
(stay in one of the left two lanes), continue through the tube to Alameda. Follow Alameda directions below.

From the South Bay:
Go North on 880 to Broadway exit (downtown Oakland). Turn right on Broadway, then right again
immediately at the first light onto 7th street. Straight ahead two blocks to Webster Street. Turn right on Webster
into Alameda tube. Follow Alameda directions below.

From Alameda:
As you exit the Webster tube the road forks, stay in the middle. Turn right at the first signal onto
Atlantic. Follow Atlantic almost two miles until just before the entrance to Alameda Point. (the Naval
Air Station) Turn right on Main St. and continue until you arrive at the North Entrance of the Naval
Base. Go through the gates, veer right, then make the first righthand
turn onto W Red Line Avenue.
Red Line dead ends on Monarch Street; turn left onto Monarch. St George is the second Hangar on
your right. The entrance to the tasting room and retail space is on the west side of the Hangar.

and here to print the map/directions in Alameda.

Monday, November 3, 2008

from Raul

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to share with you a picture of the Altar we made in the name of Robert and Alta's brother in la Hacienda.
I tried to find doctors made out of chocolate, but could not. I think he visited us. He turned over one of the vases and ate some chocolate!

big kiss.