A long long time ago, even before you were born, there lived a man in Italy named Dominico Ghirardelli. He had a dream of making and selling sweets. He packed up and moved to South America, changed his name to Domingo and learned all about chocolate. He then moved to California during the gold rush, not for gold but to open a store and he did in 1852. Domingo moved the main store and factory to San Francisco, CA where it remains today. Ghirardelli Chocolate is now owned by the Lindt swiss chocolate company and the location that's second to Ghirardelli Square's success is the Chocolate shop where I work.
Here's a little about what I do there. . .
In every Ghirardelli there is someone who greets and hands you a sample of chocolate. You'd think this would be the funnest and easiest job in the world but you might feel differently after 8hrs of crowds coming at you, wanting more, rarely saying "thank you," dropping wrappers on the floor, while having to say welcome and tell them about our assorted 50 and 80 count bags. I usually only do this job for maybe a 1/2hr of the night if that.
Here are my most received questions and comments:
1. "How many samples do you give out a day?" Anywhere from 6,500 to 11,000. Oh, and each of those sample squares are cut open by someone in the back.
2. "What smells so good?" They're making waffle cones
3. "I'll take your whole basket!" I hear this so much it's hard for me to even fake laugh
4. "How do you stay so skinny working in a place like this?" I practice self-control and I'm not a chocoholic but my canned response is that I'm working on it.
5. "I've been to the one in San Francisco" Yes, that's where it all started
6. "How do you pronounce the name?" Gear-ar-deli
7. "Do you have sugar-free chocolate?" Nooooooooooooooooooooooo, the closest is our Intense Dark 86%, it has 6grams for ever 4 squares
8. "Do you have the peppermint?" That's a seasonal flavor, we'll have it at the beginning of November
9. "Will the chocolate melt?" Yes
10. "Do you have Godiva ?" No, ma'am we only sell Ghirardelli. This really happened. There's also a lot of "Please don't put your hands in the basket"
In the back of the small store there is a smaller room that might fit 3-4 people to pack the chocolate from the boxes into clear bags and tie bows around them. This takes a lot of personal motivation for usually one or two people to keep up with how much people buy and filling the shelves. All the while making sure the outside looks neat and clean as much as possible. Some of the flavors we sell are milk chocolate, 60% dark, milk choc caramel, dark choc caramel, dark with mint filling, dark with raspberry filling, milk choc peanut butter, and vanilla dream. Through this job I have become an expert at tying bows.
At the end of the night I go out and clean up the final damage that has been done. We also have a lot of other packaged products like bars, hot cocoa, drinking chocolate, seasonal items, non-pareils, chocolate-covered fruit, cookbooks, brownie and lave cake sets, chocolate sauces, and so forth. What are my favorite items you might ask? Intense Darks are my fav, especially 86% Cacao which is the most intense. I don't think you can handle it. Also, the Luxe Milk which is a creamier not as sugary milk chocolate. My favoritest is the hazelnut in that collection. Both of these are made from all natural ingredients unlike our biggest seller, milk chocolate caramel.
On the other side of our store is the soda fountain where you can get all sorts of ice cream things.
1. This was a birthday chocolate pie I made. Oreo crust, chocolate pudding, cream-cheesy whip cream, crushed oreos, and sliced in-season strawberries. Tres delicious and mostly sugar free.
2. After all these years of wanting one, I used the Christmas money from my parents to get a blender. I make smoothies all the time, they give Jamba a run for their money. I put in my organic low-fat plain yogurt (no sugar or anything added), nothing added orange juice, milk, a banana, handful of frozen fruit, a few ice cubes and blend. No added sugar and they're very good and don't weigh me down. Mandi would be proud of me.
3. Last is my first homemade chicken soup. I used swanson low-sodium chicken broth for the base. Then I boiled chicked and shredded it, added no yolk egg noodles, brocolli, carrots, and onions. What more could you want? Well, actually next time I'll get more broth or add less noodles.
So I know you're wondering, hey Mallori! What's with all the organic, no sugar, healthy stuff? I suggest you go to the local movie store or add on to your netflix the oscar nominated documentary "Food Inc." This covers only the tip of the iceberg of the food revolution that has happened under our noses within the last 50, and even 20-30yrs. It won't freak you out for eating food but it will enlighten you about what you're putting in your body and maybe make you look at the label before buying it. Knowledge is power people.
Quote from Food, Inc: "There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when it was green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it's kind of a notional tomato. I mean, it's the idea of a tomato. "
It's that time of year again, the superbowl of entertainment! For a long time now I've made sure watching the Academy Awards was a special event. From the big gatherings at the Merrills to last year with Harry, Patrick and his awesome cookie. My personal tradition is making tortilla pinwheels and lil smokies. Tomorrow it might be just me but I'll have the tortilla goodness and lots of excitement. I'm a little worried about the claims of "you've never seen the Oscars like this," new 10 nominees for Best Picture or the nomination of Sandra Bullock buuuuut I trust new producer Adam Shankman, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin. I'll still get the red carpet, gowns, jokes, heartfelt acceptance speeches, and the comradare and appreciation for the art of film. May the best man win.
4. BFF Melissa and Jaden enjoying the grounds of the oldest cemetary in Brooklyn, we're talking revolutionary war. 5. Beautiful tree Thomas Edison planted to help figure out how to make rubber in mass amounts
6. His dock and ocean view
7. The sky shortly after a rocket launch
Nowadays the only chance I get to be outdoors is at the theme parks, kind of sad.
In honor of Valentine's Day, here are a few things that I love! Seriously, when I rediscover these gems daily, I smile.
1) Little holiday decorations. No one likes the Raspberry Squares from Ghirardelli's so this has lasted since early-January. These remind me of home.
2) I've gotten tired of the usual radio stations and every place I've lived has the classical music station that features jazz music on Saturday night. But. . . I found a college radio station that plays jazz all the time! and NPR, so I always have something great to listen to without really any commercials. How exciting.
3) Tivo might be the best invention ever made. For $12.99 a month you hook up this contraption to your tv and choose whatever it is you'd like to watch at whatever time, even two shows at once and watch it at your leisure. The best part you ask? You get to fast forward through commercials!!!! and no more channel surfing!!!! What's not to love? and it's so easy to work. You can even make wishlists of actors and it'll show you anything that's coming up with them in it.
4) Right up there with Tivo we have Netflix. Choose the movies you want to see online, have a queue of most anything you can think of and have the DVD shipped to you and when you turn it in, get your next one a couple days later. Netflix also has a large selection of movies you can watch on your computer whenever you like.
5) Last but certainly not least we have these Ikea food bag clips. Also might be the best invention ever made. Take off your twisty ties and use these instead. They're clips in different sizes and colors for all your bag needs, really seals and maintains freshness and are so fast and easy and less messy. For someone with no Ikea around here are some you can check out.
They you are, there are five things I "love" for Valentine's Day
I ran into my Disney BFF twice yesterday! His name is Patrick, we met at the Studio Backlot Tour where we started our College Program together and both ended at The Great Movie Ride. He moved back to Boston in May after the program was over, Patrick is a seasonal cast member which means he has to work at least one shift at Great Movie Ride every six months! He came this weekend and he just brightens up my world! Last six months ago we went to the movies and shared our love of Meryl Streep and watched "Julie and Julia". The first movie we saw together was the last show of "Rent" on Broadway that they recorded and put in movie theaters, we then watched "Slumdog Millionaire" and left with the same reaction of "meh". We enjoyed "Last Chance Harvey" being the only people under 50 in the matinee audience. We also like 30 Rock, The Office, theater, So You Think you Can Dance and just being goofy. Like in the Backlot Tour when we made up our spiels to the holiday it was, trying to amuse the other person while they drove, adding words in the spiel, making funny hand gestures to show the guests where to move, hiding behind objects and peeking out. I just love this guy. Even so much that before he left in May I sculpted him a mini Catastrophe Canyon "collectible". Did I mention he calls Mary Poppins "M Pops"?
First pic is Patrick crying on the shuttle after performing THE LAST SPIEL EVER for the Backlot Tour, it is sadly now only automated. Next pic was taken at Epcot in "France" during the Food & W festival with Becca, she was the other CP that started with us, she's pretty awesome too. Third was taken six months ago after watching a movie at Downtown Disney.
My other favorite person I worked with on both attractions, Jim from Texas. He was hilarious, had a great attitude, smart, and lived an adventurous life. I'll never forget Jim, everyone's favorite person to work with. He's the "chinamen" in the middle. That's the breakroom at GMR.
After laughing at this Totino's pizza and it's sorry excuse for green peppers I made it a goal to cook more and to execute actual recipes. I made a pizza with a few things, not the best I've made. Last monday I made my first soup, cheese and broccoli. I learned not to put as much cheese in and to cook on a lower setting. This was my first lasagna ever. My BFF Melissa makes the best lasagna with meatballs in it. It wasn't as delicious as that but it turned out well. My mom always put cottage cheese in the recipe but I used ricotta because it's more Italian. One of these days I'll make Courtney's garlic bread, that would go well with lasagna.
This picture was taken in December of 2006 at Elizabeth House and my "Annual Snowflake Showboat" party. We gathered our talented friends into the Acting Studio on campus in the Kirkham and everyone performed a Christmas song/reading while eating treats and dressing fancy. Lizzy made homemade carmels and I set up lights and a small sound system. It was magical.
I usually only look at pictures on blogs I secretly check out so that's what this will be, I'll post my pictures. It takes something special for me to break out the old camera, so these images have in some way created enchantment for me. Also, for the fun of it, each post title will be a movie quote because anyone who knows me knows I love the movies, guess what they are.
Did you know Christina's World is one of my favorite paintings?