SAN FRANCISCO—It’s a chocolate lover’s delight this weekend in the Bay area! The 20th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival will take place Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13 in from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in none other than Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Although pre-sale tickets are no longer offered, tickets will still be sold at the door on both days.

For $25, you can send your taste buds on a blissful, cacao-covered journey with 15 gourmet chocolate tastings at various booths of your choosing.

For $60, you can complement those sweet samples with 12 premium wine tastings in the Chocolate & Wine Pavilion. You’ll also receive a souvenir wine glass. Purchasers of this ticket must be 21 years of age or older.

In addition to this, with admission you can join “Chocolate Professor” Steve Genzoli as he teaches Chocolate School, an instructional presentation detailing the chocolate making process. Or perhaps visit the Culinary Stage, in which local professional chefs demonstrate their expertise on all desserts and dishes you can imagine.  Other activities include ice cream eating contests and chocolate vendors.

Chocolate vendors will also be present so that you can take home some treats.
Chocolate vendors will also be present so that you can take home some treats.

And there is no reason for you to feel guilty about indulging your sweet tooth; one hundred percent of the profits will be donated to Project Open Hand, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that provides meals and nutrition to seniors and the critically ill.  Since its inception 30 years ago, the organization has grown and expanded to provide 2,500 nutritious meals and provide 200 bags of healthy groceries each day to nourish people in need throughout San Francisco and Alameda Counties.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 4.56.52 PM
This year marks Project Open Hand’s 30th anniversary.

In 1985, San Francisco grandmother and retired food-service worker Ruth Brinker saw her friends and neighbors suffering from malnutrition, one devastating effect of HIV/AIDS, and she knew she needed to help. She took to cooking meals for them in her kitchen and soon became well-known throughout the neighborhood. More meal requests came in; she enlisted the help of volunteers and the growth of her organization has been exponential ever since.  Today, Project Open Hand has over 125 volunteers at on daily basis at both their Oakland and San Francisco locations. They aim to help elderly individuals fighting all serious illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more.

How could you resist?

If you don’t want your taste buds to be happy, or can’t make it to this celebration of chocolate, you can still give your time or money this great local cause. Make a donation Project Open Hand by visiting or sign up to be a volunteer here:

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival began in 1996 and has seen overwhelming success since; the festival has extended down to Beach Street, the Plaza in the Ghirardelli Square and occupies an entire block. Last year, over 31,000 cacao-crazy people chomped on 759 lbs of chocolate and raised over $50,000.  For more information about the festival or to view the event schedule, click here.