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April 10, 2005

Scharffen Berger Nibby Bar — Shortage Looms

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Nibby Bars (above) are one-ounce bars of semisweet chocolate mixed with bits of cocoa nibs.

Nibs are pieces of the roasted cacao beans that Scharffen Berger uses to make its chocolate, considered by most chocolate mavens the best made in the United States.

To create the Nibby Bar the company mixes the coarsely ground nibs into semisweet chocolate.

Wrote Candy Sagon in her Washington Post Food section front-page story of last Wednesday, April 6, "The result is an intense, one-two punch of the gritty, almost coffee-like nibs and the smooth semisweet chocolate."

The Nibby Bar was introduced in 2000 and has become the company's top-selling mini-chocolate bar.

They are almost impossible to find, wrote Sagon, in Balducci's, Whole Foods, and Dean & DeLuca in the Washington, D.C. area.

Tip to Candy and everyone else: Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville, Virginia has plenty of Nibby Bars.

They're located in the fine chocolate section, to your immediate left as you enter the store.

John Scharffenberger, the company's eponymous founder, told Sagon, "Nibby is a cult favorite. It sells out all the time."

All joeheads who make the pilgrimage to bookofjoe world headquarters here in Charlottesville will receive in their gift bag — what, you thought I don't watch the Academy Awards? — several Nibby Bars, among other delights.

Here's the Washington Post story.

    It's All in the Nibs: How the Cookie Crunches

    There are Nibby people and there are the rest of you.

    For the Nibby lovers, I have some dire news: Nibby Bars are getting hard to find.

    Nibby Bars, made by Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker Inc. of Berkeley, Calif., are one-ounce bars of semisweet chocolate mixed with bits of cocoa nibs.

    What exactly are nibs?

    Nibs are pieces of the roasted cacao beans that Scharffen Berger uses to make its unique line of chocolate.

    To create the Nibby Bar, the company mixes the coarsely ground nibs into semisweet chocolate.

    The result is an intense, one-two punch of the gritty, almost coffeelike nibs and the smooth semisweet chocolate.

    Nibby Bars, so named by co-founder John Scharffenberger "because I liked that word," were introduced in 2000 and have become the company's top-selling mini-chocolate bar.

    They are so popular, they sell out quickly at stores such as Whole Foods, Balducci's and Dean & DeLuca.

    I should know.

    I've been searching for them for weeks without luck.

    "Nibby is a cult favorite. It sells out all the time," says Scharffenberger.

    "The problem is, the stores wait until one of the other flavors [of Scharffen Berger's one-ounce bars] sell out as well before they reorder. That's why you can't find it."

    Ironically, Scharffenberger initially had to convince stores to carry the Nibby.

    "When we explained what it was, they thought people wouldn't like it. I told them to think about Nestle's Crunch. I told them people like a little texture."

    Ardent fans of the gritty Nibby don't hesitate to express their feelings about the hard-to-find bar.

    Scharffenberger says the company frequently gets letters, including one from the woman who wrote him that she keeps a stash in her desk drawer and allows herself "one small piece every two hours."

    Another reason the Nibby is scarce right now is that it's available only in the one-ounce size.

    Other flavors, such as the Mocha Bar, made with micro-ground Sumatran coffee, also can be found in a three-ounce size. Not the Nibby.

    "The machine that molds the chocolate can't deal with the nibs. They clog the nozzle. But we're having new machines built, and there should be three-ounce Nibbies by fall," Scharffenberger assured me.

    And, of course, they can be ordered through the company's Web site.

April 10, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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