Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker claims that it prides itself on its bean to bar premium chocolate production methods.
Production is carried out in small batches using traditional chocolate-making methods and vintage European machinery.
In addition, the company claims it only uses the finest cacao beans.
"Our goal is simple," said co-founder John Scharffenberger.
"We want to create the richest most flavourful chocolate by using artisan methods and sourcing the best cacao in the world."
This could prove lucrative. Packaged Facts projects that the overall gourmet chocolate market, which also includes untracked sales through speciality chocolatier boutiques, gourmet shops, convenience stores, warehouse clubs, and other non-chain stores, will grow at a CAGR of 6.4 per cent from $1.3 billion in 2005 to $1.8 billion in 2010.
The lure of higher margins for gourmet chocolate is beginning to attract the interest of large chocolate manufacturers, many of whom have introduced their own successful premium brands and/or acquired smaller, well-known gourmet manufacturers in the past few years.
Scharffen Berger for example, part of the Artisan Confections Company which is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company, offers a range of products from rich dark chocolate bars and hand-dipped fruits to cocoa powders and nibs. Each product is made with all natural ingredients, and the beans are chosen by a tasting committee.
Scharffen Berger's tasting committee constantly samples new beans and adjusts beans blends to ensure a consistent flavour. As bean flavours can change from harvest to harvest, Scharffen Berger's tasting experts monitor flavour changes among existing beans as well as identify new beans on the market.
Scharffen Berger's chocolate bars are created through blends of up to nine different cacao beans to create well-balanced, flavourful chocolate. The company claims that its chocolate blends have high cacao percentages that showcase the intense and complex flavours present in the cacao.
The firm's range of bars features a variety of cacao percentages from 41 per cent Cacao Milk Chocolate to 70 per cent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, and even 99 per cent Cacao Unsweetened.
In addition, Scharffen Berger Natural Cocoa Powder is made from the same carefully selected cacao used to create bar chocolate. The non-alkalised cocoa powder retains its fruity flavours and infuses beverages and baked goods with an essence of cocoa.
The firm's Sweetened Cocoa Powder contains only natural cocoa powder and pure cane sugar.
Scharffen Berger's Cacao Nibs are small pieces of roasted cacao beans in a range of fruity, earthy and spicy flavours that the firm claims can enhance desserts and add a nutty crunch.