The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company has announced that it will soon reopen its flagship Chocolate Experience store, located in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square. The space is designed to enhance the customer experience and offers exciting new ways to celebrate the true craftsmanship of chocolate making.
Visitors can expect to be delighted by the delicate taste and aroma of fresh chocolate, hot waffle cones and hot handmade fudge. San Francisco Mayor London Breed will attend the official ribbon-cutting ceremony during a grand reopening celebration on May 20 from 11:30 a.m. PST.
“We are thrilled to unveil the Chocolate Experience Store to our community of chocolate lovers and our hometown of San Francisco,” said Justin Reese, Vice President of Retail and E-Commerce at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. “Our upscale chocolate, historic architecture, and breathtaking views have made Ghirardelli Square a favorite San Francisco destination. The interior redesign brings a dynamic new experience to the classic space.”
Reopening Day festivities will include family entertainment for all with live music, balloon art and face painting. The first 170 lucky customers will receive a free World Famous Hot Fudge sundae to celebrate the brand’s 170th anniversary. Executives from Ghirardelli, Eight Inc. and representatives from Jamestown Property Management, along with Kate Sofis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Office of Economic Development and Workforce, will join Mayor Breed to kick off the ‘event.
“Ghirardelli Square is one of our city’s most beloved destinations that tourists and residents alike always return to,” said Mayor Breed. “We know that COVID has had a significant impact on our tourism industry, and as we continue to recover, it is essential to establish new experiences for everyone to enjoy. Ghirardelli has helped bring people on the San Francisco waterfront for nearly 130 years, and they will continue to do so with the reopening of their Chocolate Experience Store.”
The renovated space is in the Pioneer Woolen Mill building which was built in 1864 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While browsing the Chocolate Experience Store, guests will have the unique opportunity to see Ghirardelli chocolatiers handcraft the brand’s signature hot fudge from just three ingredients: pure Ghirardelli chocolate, milk and vanilla. Customers can also customize a box of signature chocolate squares selected from the brand’s largest Pick & Mix to date and enjoy a World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae in the store’s Alcatraz room while taking in the stunning views and unobstructed view of San Francisco Bay.
Other store offerings include fresh chocolate bars made with on-site roasted almonds and hazelnuts and pure Ghirardelli chocolate flowing from tempering taps, ice cream served in cones and handmade waffle bowls. and hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries. View Full Store Menu here.
The redesigned Chocolate Experience Store seamlessly blends modern design elements, like a custom Ghirardelli golden eagle inlay and tiles from the SF-based company Heath Ceramics, with central elements of the historic structure, like the red brick walls and the original wooden beams. Hand-painted murals and a collection of vintage Ghirardelli advertisements from the company’s mid-19th century beginnings are also newly on display.
“Working with the Ghirardelli team, we sought to blend historic elements of the iconic space with engaging new components of the Ghirardelli retail environment,” said Edmond Kuan, the company’s managing director. of design Eight Inc, based in the Bay Area. “The space captivates visitors with incredible views, interactive features and a bit of nostalgia, all a perfect backdrop for tasting Ghirardelli chocolate.”
The reopening of the Chocolate Experience Store marks the end of the first of three phases of renovations to the chocolate company’s space at its namesake Ghirardelli Square. The second phase of the project – a renovation of Ghirardelli’s original ice cream and chocolate shop – is scheduled to begin in January 2023 and end in May. A pop-up store in the piazza in place during the renovation process helped limit disruption to the visitor experience and Ghirardelli’s business operations.