Step back county fairs, carnivals and street festivals, the premiere food festival is on its way. Ghirardelli is hosting its 19th annual Chocolate Festival on Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14 from 12-5pm at San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square. The festival will host a number of events from Chocolate School and delicious chocolate tastings to the much-anticipated ice cream eating contests.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Earthquake Ice Cream Eating Contest has been going on for years. During the contest, six contestants, perched atop custom seats with their hands tied behind their back, race to see who can finish the Earthquake (a whopping eight scoops of ice cream) first.
“The whole crowd comes out!” Kym Hough, Director of Marketing at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, laughs. “Hysterical. It’s just crazy!” She adds, “We do it for adults; we also do it for teenagers. There’s also a round for children with less ice cream.”
Another popular event at the festival is the Chocolate Tasting Pavilion. This year’s tasting is estimated to have triple the number of samples to choose from than last year’s. With a tasting ticket, attendees can choose fifteen different samples to try. Some booths will have Ghirardelli chocolate squares and mini-squares while others will have various chocolate-related items like chocolate tea from Numi Tea, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate marshmallows and maybe even chocolate-flavored potato chips (wouldn’t that be interesting?). Tasting tickets can be purchased online for a discounted price.
Now, let’s not forget about the most anticipated class of the year: “From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Bar” at Chocolate School. You’ll learn from Chocolate Professor Steve Genzoli how a little bean from the equator becomes part of a delicious Ghirardelli chocolate bar. If one chocolate class isn’t enough for you, there will also be thirty-minute chef demonstrations throughout the event. Local chefs will teach attendees how to make all sorts of chocolate yummies.
Besides all the chocolate-y goodness, Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival is admirable because of its purpose. According to Hough, it’s hosted by Ghirardelli Chocolate Company “out of the goodness in their hearts to benefit Project Open Hand.” Therefore, it’s no surprise to learn that all the proceeds from the festival (yes, I mean 100% of them) go to support Project Open Hand, a Bay Area non-profit organization that provides healthy food to seniors and the critically ill.
Can you even imagine a better event?
A huge thank you to Kim Hough for the interview and to Julie Richter for coordinating it. Another set of thank yous goes out to all the volunteers who will make the event possible and to Project Open Hand for feeding hundreds of people every day.