Guittard Chocolate Company
|Headquarters||Burlingame, California, USA|
|Key people||Gary Guittard (president and CEO since 1989)|
|Products||Couverture chocolate, Confectionery|
The Guittard Chocolate Company is an American-based chocolate maker which produces couverture chocolate using original formulas and traditional French methods. The company is headquartered in Burlingame, California. It is the oldest continuously family-owned chocolate company in the United States, family-owned for more than four generations.
The company was started by Étienne Guittard, who emigrated from Lyon, France, in the 1850s, during the California Gold Rush. He brought French chocolates with him, which he traded for supplies. After trying without success for three years to strike gold in the Sierra, he returned to San Francisco, where shopkeepers with whom he had earlier traded his chocolate convinced him to become a chocolate maker; he returned to Paris, saved money to buy the equipment he needed, then returned to San Francisco and opened for business at 405 Sansome Street on the San Francisco waterfront. Initially, he didn't limit himself to chocolate, also selling "tea, coffee, spices, yeast powder and flavorings."
Horace C. Guittard, Étienne's son, was in charge when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed the city. In the aftermath of the quake, a new plant was built on Commercial Street. The company expanded in 1921 and 1936 onto property on Main Street south of Market. In 1954, Guittard sold its property to the city so that Embarcadero Freeway could be built. The company relocated to a 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) facility at the corner of Guittard and Rollins road in Burlingame, California, where it remains to this day.
Gary Guittard began working full-time at the company in 1975; he took over for Horace A. Guittard (his father) in 1989, becoming president and CEO.
The company produces cocoa, chocolate syrup, milk chocolate balls and eggs, baking chips, as well as mints and mint wafers. It sells to pastry chefs, consumers, and wholesale customers like See's Candies, Kellogg's and Baskin-Robbins, Recchiuti Confections, and Garrison Confections. Guittard is also the exclusive chocolate supplier to Williams-Sonoma.
The E. Guittard Collection vintage product line contains blends and single bean varietal chocolates, including the Quevedo, a varietal couverture chocolate from Ecuador, the Chucuri from northwest Colombia, the Sur del Lago couverture chocolate from western Venezuela, and the Ambanja from Madagascar.
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- Elaine Larsen (February 11, 2000). "A Chip off the old Block". The San Francisco Examiner. sfgate.com. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Peggy Knickerbocker (January 21, 2005). "Old-line chocolate maker still keeps eye on competition". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-02-24.