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Chocolate paradise closer than you think

Chocolate lovers near and far come to Lathrop to indulge in Ghirardelli’s sweet treats.

Located along a frontage road, amongst the snarl of truck depots, gravely yards and other warehouse facilities, the Ghirardelli Factory Outlet and Ice Cream Shop rises like an oasis.

It is easy to access for those traveling Interstate 5 – and with its enormous building-top light bulb sign, it’s hard to miss even on days when the tule fog is at its thickest.

The ice cream shop in Lathrop features an international flair to match its world-class chocolate.

There is the shop’s supervisor, Constatin, and the counter clerk, Luis, who on this slow holiday morning greets each customer with a complimentary Peppermint Bark square.

That said, Ghirardelli is distinctly San Francisco. The menu pays homage to the company’s Bay Area roots.

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was founded by an Italian immigrant, Domingo Ghirardelli, in 1852 and eventually settled into its brick-and-mortar home in Ghirardelli Square, amongst San Francisco’s piers. Ghirardelli began marketing his chocolate delicacies to the miners of California’s Gold Rush, and before the turn of the century the company had established itself as a must-have household product.

Ghirardelli boasts that its chocolates are “moments of timeless pleasure,” and after more than 160 years of operation, an international footprint and 23 locations across the nation, it’s tough argue.

Today, patrons can enjoy an Earthquake, eight scoops of ice cream with eight toppings, sliced bananas, whipped cream, chopped almonds, chocolate chips and cherries.

There’s also the Presidio Passion, vanilla ice cream slathered in hot fudge and lined with sliced strawberries.

The Golden Gate is Ghirardelli’s take on the banana split; Treasure Island with its double chocolate brownie; and the Cable Car, featuring Rocky Road, chocolate chip and chocolate ice creams.

However, the signature sundae remains the namesake – the Ghirardelli Square. It’s simple by design, but perhaps that’s the allure. The Ghirardelli Square won’t overwhelm you with too many toppings or ice creams. It is combines the very best the chocolate factory has to offer in a cup or waffle bowl: Vanilla ice cream, homemade hot fudge, whipped cream, chopped almonds and a cherry.

The Lathrop location also has a large outdoor seating area and wide selection of chocolate treats for sale. For more information, contact 209.982.9304 or visit



Incorporated in 1852, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company boasts that it has the richest heritage of any American chocolate factory. Through a few shrewd marketing maneuvers in the 1800s, Ghirardelli established itself as a household staple and must-have treat. Founder Domingo Ghirardelli marketed his chocolate delicacies to the gold miners during California’s Gold Rush. Ghirardelli later employed “artists and advertising experts to saturate the West with the Ghirardelli name and logo,” according to the company’s website.


Ghirardelli Factory Outlet and Ice Cream Shop


11980 South Harlan Road, Lathrop, Ca. 95330


Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.