Last Saturday I attended the 17th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in San Francisco. What a picture-perfect day it was in the city that day! The sun and warm temps brought out big crowds to Ghirardelli Square…not that booths full of chocolate wasn’t enough of a reason to show up. :)
A little history: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was founded in 1852 by Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli, and is the second oldest chocolate company in the United States. Ghirardelli is now a division of Lindt & Sprungli.
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is located in Ghirardelli Square, which is an official landmark of the City of San Francisco. Ghirardelli Square was originally built as a woolen mill in 1864. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company moved in during the late 1890s. You’ve got to love a building named Cocoa (below)! There is also a Chocolate building and a Mustard building (because the company used to sell mustard…go figure).
Back to the festival… There were many, many booths handing out samples, and plenty of entertainment (including belly dancers, which my 7 year old found interesting). I didn’t purchase the $20 sampling ticket because I had my heart set on having one of Ghirardelli’s famous Ice Cream Sundaes, for old time’s sake.
I did have an ice cream sundae with chocolate chip ice cream, complete with whipped cream and cherry…but I was so excited to dig in, that I forgot to take a picture. So, here’s a photo of a bunch of other yummy confections that were sitting on the counter, awaiting delivery.
This is called The Earthquake…8 scoops of ice cream, 8 toppings. No, I did not order one!
While researching Ghirardelli, I learned this interesting very fact: around the year 1865, someone in the Ghirardelli Company made an important observation—by hanging a bag of chocolate in a warm room, the cocoa butter drips out, leaving a residue that can be processed into ground chocolate. This technique, called the Broma process, is now generally used in the manufacture of chocolate.
I took the above photo inside the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop, where they show how chocolate is made. If you’re ever in San Francisco, be sure to visit Ghirardelli Square, and have an ice cream sundae! The festival was fun…I’ll be going back next year.