preview | 16th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival


When I need something to lift my spirits, I’ll take a mug of hot chocolate over a pint of beer, a mound of mac and cheese, or even a bowl of my mom’s oxtail soup any day. Velvety, decadent, luxurious and positively sinful, chocolate is just about the only thing that makes me forget all my worries. Knowing this, you can safely assume that I’ll be at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival this weekend. In addition to being a glorious venue for tasting chocolate creations by some of the most popular vendors in the area, the festival also gathers people together for a good cause. Proceeds from the event benefit Project Open Hand, an organization that provides meals for seniors and people who are home-bound due to illness.

Photo Credit: James Hall Photography.


Quick Guide to the Chocolate Hoedown

Time: Saturday, September 10 to Sunday, September 11, from 12pm to 5pm.

Location: Ghirardelli Square at 900 North Point Street.

Prices: A 20-dollar ticket must be purchased in order to sample chocolate at the fair. Each ticket gets you 15 samples. Alternatively, those who are 21+ and don’t want to wait in line can purchase a VIP ticket for 50 dollars and also get samples from VIP-specific vendors. The VIP ticket also gets you into the VIP event on Saturday, which takes place from 12pm to 4pm.

Event Highlights: Look forward to live music, a sundae-eating competition, live cooking demonstrations, and of course, CHOCOLATE.

Even though Ghirardelli Square is hosting the festival, there will be various non-chocolate vendors at the event as well, most of them organic and fair trade. To me, the most interesting non-chocolate vendor at the party is Be a Gourmet, a company that specializes in quality balsamic vinegar. Though I do love chocolate, I’m expecting my day to be a bit on the rich and heavy side, so anything Be a Gourmet offers will hopefully provide some respite for my taste buds. The vendors I’m looking forward to the most are Sterling Truffle Bar, Kara’s Cupcakes, Reuschelle’s Cheesecakes and Baba Joon’s Chocolate Chewies.

The cooking demonstrations on the Cadillac Culinary Stage also promise to be a treat, with Ghirardelli’s own Steve Genzoli leading a “Chocolate School” demo at 1pm on both days of the festival. Those planning to go to the festival on Sunday should definitely watch the cupcake maven, Kara Lind, work her magic during her demo at 1:45pm. It’s bound to be a crowded event, so get there early to get your chocolate fix and remember to bring your kids – judging from photos from last year’s sundae-eating competition, I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll want to get some ice cream sundaes of their own.

Photo Credit: James Hall Photography.



Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival Official Website

Project Open Hand Official Website

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