With a name that is synonymous throughout the world for delicious chocolate, Ghirardelli has been making tasty treats in San Francisco since 1852. The company celebrates all things chocolate at Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, a two day fete where visitors can sample a wide variety of scrumptious confections, watch cooking demonstrations, enjoy live entertainment and much more.
Boasting a schedule of events that would make Willy Wonka jealous, the 18th annual celebration features 35 vendors offering samples of treats in rows of tents set up along the street in front of famous Ghirardelli Square near San Francisco’s historic waterfront.
In addition to premium chocolates from the host company, a variety of other producers—many of them local—will be participating in the festival.
“It’s not all Ghirardelli, we do have 35 other vendors there as well—it takes a community to do a festival, and the public can come in and try lots of different things—we have chocolate ice cream, chocolate vodka, cookies and much more,” says Kym Hough, senior marketing manager for restaurants and retail at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.
There will be several new additions at the festival this year, including a Chocolate & Wine Pavilion, two chocolate and vodka bars with mixologists making special cocktails and more chef demonstrations.
While some attendees might start to feel a bit guilty about giving in to their chocolate cravings, they shouldn’t—proceeds directly support the efforts of Project Open Hand, a nonprofit organization operating in San Francisco and Alameda counties that provides meals for seniors and the critically ill.
“Once we pay the expenses, all of the profits go to Project Open Hand, which is an amazing organization. They feed so many people in the Bay Area,” says Hough.
“Last year we raised $65,000 for them; this year our goal is $100,000. Our team here is working very hard to make that happen, and we have a lot of volunteers—it really is a huge community effort.”