April 28, 2008
co - coa
click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney
This is on the side of an old barn in Petaluma, California.
The broadside is advertising Ghirardelli Brand of Cocoa, a local favorite.
Everybody knows about Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco -- they've been cranking out chocolate in that location since 1852 -- Q -- but do you know where Ghirardelli was located before that? -- A -- Hornitos, California, between Merced and Yosemite, about ten miles off Highway 140. It's a middle-of-nowhere kind of place -- the sad little town where Domenico Ghirardelli ended up after a failed search for gold in the surrounding hills. Ghirardelli didn't stay in Hornitos long. Myself, after having visited Hornitos on a few occasions, I can see justification for the quest of a place more lively.
Long ago, when I was probably about 14, our family was making a trip to Yosemite and I made sure our itinerary included a side trip to Hornitos to see the church that Ansel Adams had shot years earlier. Of course, my shot of the church was nothing like Ansel Adams' shot, but it was fun recreating the event anyway.
Our family stopped at the cafe in the tiny Hornitos downtown area, and that's where the story of Ghirardelli surfaced -- they had Ghirardelli this, and Ghirardelli that, so they were definitely using the Ghirardelli name to their advantage to merchandise their products... We all had sasparillas at the bar, and I doubt if we left without a good supply of Ghirardelli chocolate.