Ghirardelli Chocolate lovers can experience the real thing in two dozen locations across the USA, but only San Francisco is home to the original Ghirardelli, America’s most famous chocolate maker since 1852.
Keep your energy levels high as you navigate the steep hills of San Francisco. We cannot promise calorie-free chocolate, but we can promise great views from Ghirardelli Square.
Whether it’s your first taste or you’re already a Ghirardelli chocoholic, as a visitor to Ghirardelli Square near Fisherman’s Wharf, you’re treated to “Moments of Timeless Pleasure” with a discount voucher from Bay City Guide.
With three additional locations in the city, in Union Square and Market Street, you’re never far away from a square of yummy chocolate or a freshly homemade hot fudge melted chocolate ice cream treat.
Chocolate and gold
Not everything Domingo Ghirardelli touched turned to gold at once. Born near Genoa in 1817, he apprenticed in a chocolate maker’s before taking his chances in South America. As chance had it, he met James Lick, a San Francisco native.
Cries of gold and Lick’s call for chocolate to sell to exhausted gold diggers reached Ghirardelli in Lima, Peru. Once in California as a prospector, Ghirardelli had no luck. However, as a retailer supplying shovels and chocolate morsels, his business flourished.
What’s in a name
Even San Franciscans have mispronounced the company’s unusual Italian name. In the early 20th century, Ghirardelli print advertising featured a little girl teaching a brightly colored parrot how to pronounce the name, encouraging the parrot to “Say Gear-ar-delly.” According to a newspaper report in 1916, marketers were hoping that streetcar billboards in Pacific Coast cities would help customers by encouraging them to ask for the brand.
In 1923, the family added the now famous 15-foot-high illuminated Ghirardelli mega-sign, a San Francisco icon, visible to sailors as they returned home via the Golden Gate before the bridge was built.
Ghirardelli Square was named as a San Francisco Historic Landmark in 1965, and was later added to the National Historic Register.
While the bigger, modern chocolate factory has now moved to the East Bay, the attractive original brick factory is now the most famous place in the nation to sample genuine Ghirardelli chocolate, to take a seat at the famous soda fountain, to pick up a free sample and to take some home for friends and family.
Did you know?
- Made in California, Ghirardelli Chocolate is America's longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer.
- San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival is a two-day celebration in mid-September.
- Grownups only...Local winemakers often pair Ghirardelli chocolate with California red wines.
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