FoodTravel & Day Trips

Ghirardelli Chocolate: Made in San Francisco or Not?

Ghirardelli Chocolate is a beloved brand among chocolate enthusiasts and has long been associated with the city of San Francisco. But have you ever wondered where Ghirardelli chocolate is actually made?

In this blog post, we will explore the origins and current production locations of this iconic chocolate brand to answer the question: Is Ghirardelli chocolate made in San Francisco?

A Brief History of Ghirardelli Chocolate

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was founded in 1852 by an Italian immigrant named Domingo Ghirardelli. The company originally started as a general store in San Francisco, California, which eventually began selling chocolate under the name Ghirardelli Chocolate.

Over the years, the company has changed hands several times, but it has always remained true to its roots and commitment to producing high-quality chocolate.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Production

So, is Ghirardelli chocolate still made in San Francisco? In a way, yes. The headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is still located in San Francisco, and it remains an integral part of the city’s culture and history.

The historic Ghirardelli Square, a landmark public square, is home to the original Ghirardelli factory and offers a glimpse into the chocolate-making process, as well as housing a retail store and an ice cream and chocolate shop.

However, while the company’s headquarters and original factory remain in San Francisco, the actual production of Ghirardelli chocolate has been relocated to a larger, more modern facility in San Leandro, California. This facility, which is situated just 16 miles southeast of San Francisco, is where the majority of Ghirardelli’s chocolate products are made.

So while Ghirardelli isn’t made in San Francisco itself, it’s still definitely made in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why the Move to San Leandro?

The decision to move the majority of production to San Leandro was a strategic one. As the company grew, it became increasingly challenging to meet the demand for Ghirardelli chocolate within the confines of the original factory in San Francisco.

The new San Leandro facility offers a much larger space, which allows for increased production capacity, better quality control, and improved efficiency.

What is the Factory Like?

I’ve visited the company’s factory, which has a small area open to the public. It’s in a nondescript industrial building. But even as you drive up, the smell of chocolate permeates the air!

You can’t actually watch the chocolate being made, but you can stop by a visitor’s area which sells many of the company’s treats straight from the factory, at fantastic wholesale prices. If you need a bunch of gifts for coworkers or family members, drop by and stock up!


In conclusion, while Ghirardelli chocolate is not made directly in San Francisco anymore, the city still holds a special place in the brand’s history and identity. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company headquarters and the historic Ghirardelli Square remain in San Francisco, while the actual production of the chocolate takes place in nearby San Leandro, California.

So, the next time you indulge in a delicious piece of Ghirardelli chocolate, you can be assured that it was made with love and expertise, just a stone’s throw away from its historic roots in San Francisco.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button