Ghirardelli from the water

History of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

See where it all began...

Domingo Ghirardelli

In 1849, Domingo Ghirardelli immigrated to the United States from his homeland of Italy with dreams of striking it rich in the California Gold Rush. After trying his hand and failing at mining, he opened a tent-store in nearby Stockton, CA, selling various supplies and confections to fellow miners. After relocating to San Francisco, he founded a new confectionery company called Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. In 1893, the company moved to what is now known as Ghirardelli Square.

Today, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company has built on its signature taste and time-honored manufacturing processes to become America's premium chocolate company.

With such a significantly historical part of our heritage beautifully located in the heart of San Francisco's waterfront, it makes perfect sense to throw a chocolate festival where it all began. Festival goers have the chance to experience the latest chocolate trends all while surrounding themselves in the rich history of America's longest operating chocolate company. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival started in 1996, and has been a hit every year since. Due to the overwhelming success, the festival has extended down to Beach Street and not only occupies the Plaza in the Square, but a full San Francisco block.