Star Vendors at Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival

Mr. and Mrs. Agah of Baba Joon’s share their delightful chocolate chewies with the crowd. Photos by Melissa Vogt

It’s hard to fight the temptation of heading over to Ghirardelli Square when you live in San Francisco, but it’s especially hard when they are hosting their annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival. This year’s 16th annual celebration brought local and regional vendors together to share their tasty treats with the masses.

The Local Dish attended the event this year and caught up with Brittany Enos, the Marketing and Events Manager of Ghirardelli Square, and various vendors from the event, to get all the chocolately details! “The Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival originated 16 years ago and started as a one day festival. What started as a simple festival to celebrate chocolate evolved into a weekend filled with chef demonstrations, wine tastings, a VIP reception, a Kids Zone, and . . . more than 40 vendors this year,” Brittany proudly states.

The array of sweet treats was quite impressive—with traditional favorites like hot fudge sundaes and truffles, to unique creations like homemade pop tarts and healthy rice krispies treats. Enos says that variety is something Ghirardelli strives to achieve at this event: “We love that the event highlights the creativity of our vendors by show casing the many different ways to enjoy chocolate. It is so great to see what each vendor brings to the table every year in the way of product innovation.”

Founder and owner of M.A.D. (Making a Difference), Jessica Shain, is a newcomer both to private food vending and the chocolate festival. She featured one variety of her homemade pop tarts made with Project Open Hand’s crunchy organic peanut butter.  “I have been in business for two and a half months now, and it has been a whirlwind experience,” Jessica says.

Mad Tart
Jessica Shain of Making a Difference (M.A.D.) serves up her peanut butter pop tarts. Photo by Melissa Vogt

Jessica recently won the San Francisco Street Food Festival’s “Vote for your Vendor” contest.  By partnering with regional and local charities, she says that she is able to “bring awareness to these amazing causes and use products that I feel great about. Not only is my customer getting a high quality ingredient, but the money that went into making it is also going back to a great cause.”

Other vendors like Baba Joon’s Chocolate Chewies, have been in the private food vending business for 27 years!  This husband and wife team served up gluten-free, preservative-free, and lactose-free “chocolate chewies,” or deliciously soft cookies that come in a wide variety of unique flavor combinations.  The Mexicali, made with powdered sugar, walnuts, egg whites, cocoa, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, chili, and walnuts, is enough to make your mouth water just thinking about it!

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival was a great way to spend the day outside enjoying delectable and unique sweet treats. It was also a fantastic opportunity to learn about new and exciting private food vendors, and to revisit the old favorites who are sold in local stores around the Bay. Make sure you stop by next year!

Do you have a favorite local chocolatier – or a treasured Ghirardelli favorite? Please share with us in the comments!


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