September 28, 2017
Over the Sept. 9-10 week- end, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company put on their annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in San Francisco. The festival works with the Project Open Hand, a local San Francisco organization, to raise funds to prepare “2,500 nutritious meals and provide 200 bags of healthy groceries” for members of the community who “battle serious illnesses, isolation or the health challenges of aging.” Their services help not only the elderly and injured, but also historically marginalized groups such as people living with HIV/AIDS.
I arrived at the San Francisco waterfront at noon under sunny skies to find a collection of tents lined up on Beach street with a variety of chocolate-themed goodies.
Armed with my sample count card (I was allowed f- teen samples for my ticket), I did a quick lap around the farmers’ market-esque set up to scout out my options. Thirty-five vendors vied for the attention of the gathered crowd, offering classic options such as chocolate bars, fudge and truffles alongside more out-there options, including “premium snack- able marshmallows,” “super herbal elixirs” and balsamic vinegar.
I won’t waste time on the unremarkable booths, but there are a few little-known, recently founded purveyors of chocolatey delight that our readers need to be made aware of.
Upon completing my route, I returned to the first booth on the line. I don’t claim to be an expert on fudge, but this stuff was smooth, rich and carefully handed to me on a spoon by one of the people who was actually involved in its creation. Z. Cioccolato produces their fresh fudge daily right in the heart of San Francisco. The quality shows through in their end product. I tasted both their cookies- and-cream flavor and their signature seven-layer pea- nut butter pie. Z. Cioccolato also hosts chocolate-making classes—perfect for you or the chocolate enthusiast in your life.
Another mind-blowing confection was the popsicles from Pepito’s Paletas. Rather than your generic, freezer- burnt fudgesicle, Pepito’s served up creamy, cinnamon- kissed paletas with a wonder- ful, almost warm aftertaste that contrasted the actual temperature of the ice cream itself.
Finally, I tried DOUGHP for the first time. The company describes their product as “legit cookie dough,” and they could not be more accurate. The consistency of the samples reminded me more of an exceptionally gooey, par-baked cookie rather than unbaked dough.
The difference in quality between DOUGHP and—for instance—premade Pillsbury dough was much more drastic than I expected. DOUGHP is batting .900 in the major leagues, while Pillsbury struggles to make it out of the minors.
Ghirardelli’s tradition of purveying delicious chocolate, both internationally and in their own community, continues today in the form of this San Francisco festival. If you weren’t able to make it this year, no need to fret. The Festival will return to the Bay Area in 2018.
Contact Ethan Beberness at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.