You guys should have worked out by now that I have a serious and legitimate chocolate problem. It’s not my fault; I inherited it from my dad. Anyway, when I was researching our trip to America, Ghirardelli chocolate seemed to be pretty popular and kept popping up – Union Square in San Francisco, Disneyland, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Hollywood Boulevard… but the one that caught my attention was Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco (I also totally loaded up like the sugar whore I am at the Hollywood Boulevard store. And maybe the Chicago store, too…). This, my friends, is the original Ghiradelli chocolate factory, as established by one Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli back in the mid 1800s.
Mr Ghirardelli, clever, enterprising Italian man that he was, made his fortunes like so many others (think Mr Levi Strauss, and Mr Wells & Mr Fargo, to name a few) during the California Gold Rush of 1848 – 1855. You can read more about how the company came to be on their website, but visiting it is a lovely way to spend an hour in San Francisco. The enormous store does everything from ice cream sundaes to freshly made chocolate bars, and it’s seriously delicious chocolate.
You can shop, too, with little boutiques dotting the square. And they host a ton of events, everything from children’s book readings to wine festivals, and a chocolate festival in September! If you’re visiting San Francisco, make a little time for Ghirardelli Square – it’s a gorgeous complex with all the original and restored buildings, and it’s a great place to take a break from your sightseeing and carb/sugar-load for the rest of the day.