I remember my first time visiting San Francisco as an eager college student on summer break back in 2008. Coming from the East Coast, this was also my first trip to California. First up on my agenda was (you guessed it) Fisherman’s Wharf and the iconic Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience in Ghirardelli Square. On my visit, I indulged in not one, but two of Ghirardelli’s massive hot fudge sundaes. I have probably never felt that full in my life, but the chocolate-fueled happiness was well worth it.
Fast forward to 2022 and Ghirardelli is celebrating its 170th anniversary of being founded in San Francisco. When I was invited to preview the reopening of Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Experience Store, I was excited to relive my bright-eyed tourist memories. As a Bay Area resident for nearly a decade, I couldn’t wait to see the new space and enjoy a sundae.
Located in the center of Ghirardelli Square, the newly renovated Ghirardelli flagship store features both a modern and nostalgic redesign by Bay Area-based Eight Inc. The new space has Ghirardelli’s largest Pick & Mix Station in the world, a wrap-around chocolatier station with bar stools to watch the fresh fudge and chocolate making, a sundae station, and stunning views of the San Francisco Bay. And on entering, the familiar smells of fresh-made chocolate and waffle cones also greet you.
Soon after stepping into the store, I enjoyed a World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae, and it was as delicious as the first time I tasted it. The size was the indulgent, but the fresh-made fudge was irresistible. I also tried the Strawberry Hot Fudge Sundae, which was equally as delicious.
Next, I went over to the chocolatier station to watch Ghirardelli Chocolatiers freshly make the chocolate hazelnut bars, which is a unique feature to this store. Steve Genzoli, vice president of Research and Development at Ghirardelli, explained how the hazelnuts are roasted in-house, and the chocolate itself is made just across the Bay in San Leandro. I got to sample a bar, and I really could taste a difference with the attention to quality and freshness.
After thoroughly indulging in chocolate, my last stop was Ghirardelli’s largest Pick & Mix station in the world, where they have every current flavor of Ghirardelli chocolate square. I was a fan of the make your own label station and created a couple custom tins with personalized photographs and captions as presents for friends and family.
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience Store is located in Ghirardelli Square at 900 N Point St., San Francisco, across from San Francisco Brewing Co., and is now open to the public. Current hours are 9am – 10pm, Sunday – Thursday and 9am – 11pm, Friday and Saturday.
With the warmer summer temps approaching, I’m excited to bring friends visiting from out of town to the new space. It’s almost like coming full circle from when I was a tourist back in 2008!
Blog post is sponsored. Opinions are my own.