Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

It's such a delight to know that there are so many Chocolate Festivals held around the world. I will do a round-up one of these days, but in the meantime, I thought I'd mention a San Francisco treat: Ghirardelli Chocolate. Chocolate is the real treat--forget Rice-a-Roni. I don't know anyone in San Francisco who makes it or ever has. Ghirardelli Chocolate has its roots in San Francisco. As America's longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer, Ghirardelli has established its position as one of America's premium chocolate company for more than 150 years.

The 14th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, benefiting Project Open Hand, will take place September 12 and 13, 2009, from noon to 5 p.m. This will be a weekend chocolate celebration featuring renowned chocolatiers, artisans and chefs showcasing countless chocolate delicacies and decadent desserts. The Festival is free with a minimal charge for tastings.

A few details:

• Bravo TV’s Season 3 Top Chef finalist Casey Thompson will lead the ever-popular cooking demonstrations. Chef Demonstrations will take place in Ghirardelli Square’s West Plaza. Casey will be on stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For a schedule of other chef demos visit

• Other fun activities are planned throughout the weekend, such as the Cadillac Ride & Drive. Cadillac will be displaying their luxury vehicles in the Square and offering visitors an opportunity to test-drive the All-New 2010 SRX. Each Visitor that participate in the Cadillac Ride & Drive will get to build their own mini Ghirardelli ice cream sundae after their test drive, while supplies last.

Crown & Crumpet’s Tea Party includes a tea and chocolate pairing on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., highlighting three types of chocolate tea paired with food items such as chocolate chip scones, tea-infused truffles and chocolate-hazelnut tea sandwiches for just $12.

• The inaugural debut of Gourmet Fudge Infusions, created through a joint partnership between The Cookie Tree & Bella’s Fudge. The new Gourmet Fudge Infusions use Ghirardelli Chocolate in their products and will be launched at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate festival. Attendees will have the first chance to taste the delicious treats.

• More than 40 delicious chocolate vendors!

All proceeds generated during the festival will go to Project Open Hand, a San Francisco non-profit organization that provides meals and groceries to senior citizens and seriously and critically ill individuals. Over the past 13 years, the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival has raised a total of more than $500,000 for Project Open Hand.

“Ghirardelli Square has a long-standing commitment to the community and this year has been especially difficult for non-profits including Project Open Hand. The Annual Chocolate Festival is just one of the ways in which we can support the local community as well as provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the recently revitalized Square and all of its great new shops,” said Lindsay Maxon, Ghirardelli Square’s marketing and events manager. “We’re delighted to host so many talented Bay Area chocolate artisans and chefs and feel fortunate that everyone is working together towards another successful year of raising money for Project Open Hand.”

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