Guittard Chocolate Company

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Coordinates: 37°35′51″N 122°22′46″W / 37.597452°N 122.379557°W / 37.597452; -122.379557

Guittard Chocolate Company
Corporation[1] (family-held)
Founded1868 (1868)
FounderÉtienne Guittard
United States
Key people
Gary Guittard (president and CEO since 1989)
ProductsCouverture chocolate, Confectionery
Number of employees

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,[3] having been family-owned for more than four generations.


Guittard Chocolate was founded by Etienne "Eddy" Guittard (1838–1899), who immigrated to the United States from Lyon, France, in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush.[3] He brought French chocolates with him, which he traded for supplies.[4] 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 then returned to Paris, saved money to buy the equipment he needed, before returning to San Francisco[4] and opening his business at 405 Sansome Street[3] on the San Francisco waterfront. Initially, he also sold items such as, tea, coffee and spices alongside his chocolate.[4]

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.[4] The company expanded in 1921 and 1936 onto property on Main Street south of Market.[4] In 1954, Guittard sold its property to the city so that Embarcadero Freeway could be built.[4] 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 is still located today.[5]

Gary Guittard began working full-time at the company in 1975[6]. He replaced Horace A. Guittard (his father) in 1989, becoming president and CEO.[3]

Pieces of Guittard bittersweet chocolate


The company produces cocoa, chocolate syrup, milk chocolate balls and eggs, baking chips, as well as mints and mint wafers.[2] 85% of Guittard's clients are food industry professionals, while 15% are pastry chefs. Customers include See's Candies,[7] Kellogg's, Baskin-Robbins, Recchiuti Confections, Garrison Confections,[citation needed] and Williams Sonoma.[3] The company also sells to chef Donald Wressel and has recently developed a variety of chocolate bars specifically designed for amateur bakers.[8]

Social responsibility[edit]

Gary Guittard remains committed to his grandfather's goal of supporting the local community. He provides financial support to educational and charitable organizations, such as the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club, and also spearheads the company's Cultivate Better initiative. The company is also a founding member of the World Cocoa Foundation and is an International Cocoa Initiative Member. Both organizations aim to improve cocoa farm practices around the world through education, training, and development for cocoa farmers.[9]


  1. ^ "Secretary of State Statement of Information (California Stock, Agricultural Cooperative and Foreign Corporations)" (PDF). California Secretary of State. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Guittard Chocolate Company". Hoover's. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  3. ^ a b c d e Julian Guthrie (November 6, 2011). "Guittard Chocolate Co.'s quest for perfect candy". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Elaine Larsen (February 11, 2000). "A Chip off the old Block". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  5. ^ Peggy Knickerbocker (January 21, 2005). "Old-line chocolate maker still keeps eye on competition". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  6. ^ Guthrie, Julian (2011-11-06). "Guittard Chocolate Co.'s quest for perfect candy". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  7. ^ Roberts, Daniel (August 22, 2012). "The secrets of See's Candies". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  8. ^ Maidens, Kate (13 April 2017). "Guittard: The Chocolate of Choice for American Chefs". France-Amérique. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Guittard Chocolate Company". National Confectioners Association. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

External links[edit]