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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop and Ice Cream

My daughter is a huge Ghirardelli fan. So I indulged her and we went to get sundaes. Even as a local, this is a fun place to go (though I'd recommend not going on the weekend when it's mobbed). We went on a vacation weekday, and had no problems finding a seat inside.

The kids begged me to buy this five pound bar of chocolate. Which I didn't do.

Though the actual factory is in San Leandro, they have a small set-up and they use the chocolate there to dip waffle bowls and cones into. When I was in high school and visiting the area, someone behind the counter let me lick one of the big spoons.

Here's a bit of trivia. When I just moved to San Francisco after college, I temped at the Ghirardelli Square management office for a few weeks. My job consisted of answering the phone, making copies, sitting there bored, shredding old financial documents and sitting there getting bored (they didn't want me reading a magazine in case someone walked in). I will say that shredding the documents WAS a lot of fun. As was getting the leftover chocolate squares after the Christmas tree lighting. Yum! And then when they closed down a restaurant that hadn't paid it's rent, I got to keep some things from there. Which I still have and use. That made up for my minimum wage pay (and sitting there getting bored).

Some Ghirardelli facts.
-The founder, Domingo Ghirardelli, came to SF to strike it rich with gold. He failed.
-He opened his first candy store in Lima, Peru!
-Owners of Ghirardelli chocolate have included: Golden Grain Macaroni Company and Quaker Oats. It's now owned by Lindt.
-They have a factory store in San Leandro.
-The filled chocolate squares started in 1999
-The chocolate company is 160 years old!
-The holiday flavors (peppermint, eggnog, etc.) started in 2004. Here's a hint - wait until after the holiday and you can often get these bags of specialty flavors for up to 75% off at the grocery store. Shhh...don't tell anyone. I cleaned out the store shelf after Valentine's Day. My daughter will never know the difference when I give the bags to her as gifts.

Here's the ice cream menu. You can also create your own, though it costs about the same building it a la carte. You pay for the sundae at the register and then go find a seat. They bring the sundae to you at your table (you get a table number). Sundaes are reasonable considering the size - about $8.50 or so for 2 large scoops, sauce, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.

The store sells lots of different chocolate items, including the squares. They have different combinations of squares, as well as big jars of sauce and other treats. When you walk into the store from the entrance in the middle of Ghirardelli Square, Larkin between North Point and Beach Street, they'll give you a free sample square. Here's a hint. If you go to the other store entrance on the corner of North Point and Larkin, you'll get another free sample. You can also get sundaes to go there (in plastic cups) and they have additional seating.

This sundae had mint chocolate chip ice cream, plus hot caramel and hot fudge. My son's choice (he wouldn't let me get one scoop of mint and one of coffee - they might TOUCH!).

Dori got the brownie sundae, split with a friend. They were impressed that they actually finished it.

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