Win some San Francisco Chocolate–and THE LAWMAN’s VOW

Tomorrow will be Valentine’s Day.  For many folks that means roses and heart-shaped cards inscribed with sweet sentiments.  Not me.  I go for the good stuff…chocolate!

Humankind’s love affair with chocolate goes way back.  In the early 1500’s, the first Spanish conquistadores to arrive in Mexico discovered the Aztecs enjoying chocolate as a beverage.  They called it the drink of the gods—they had the right idea.  But today I want to tell you about the chocolate that became part of Western history.

Domenico Ghirardelli was born in Italy in 1817.  His merchant father apprenticed his son to a confectioner and spice importer.  At the age of 20, Domenico moved to South America, changed his name to Domingo and went into business for himself.  In Peru he opened a chocolate shop next door to an American piano maker named James Lick.  Lick decided to leave Peru for California, arriving in San Francisco on January 11, 1848, just 13 days before gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill.

Lick had brought with him 600 pounds of Ghirardelli’s chocolate.  Soon he wrote Ghirardelli that he’d sold all the chocolate and there was a big demand for more.  Ghirardelli packed up and followed his friend to San Francisco.

Arriving in 1849, he prospected a while, then owned a general store.  In 1852 he opened his confectionery now known as the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.  Early business was up and down, but by 1885 the company was importing 450,000 pounds of cocoa beans a year, as well as grinding spices and selling coffee, wine and liquor.

Chocolate was the mainstay of the business.  The equipment to process the cocoa beans took up so much space that the business needed bigger quarters.  After Ghirardelli retired in 1892, his sons purchased the square block in San Francisco presently known as Ghirardelli Square.  Luckily it survived the 1906 earthquake and fire.  It remains a major tourist attraction today, even though the chocolates are now made at a modern factory in San Leandro.

There’s no reference to chocolate in my March 2012 historical, THE LAWMAN’S VOW.  But it does take place in northern California at the time Mr. Ghirardelli was starting up his business.  Another connection—I fuel my writing brain by nibbling Ghirardelli’s bittersweet chocolate chips, so there’s a bit of Ghirardelli chocolate in every line of the book.

Here’s a blurb for you.

A MAN WITH A MISSION…

San Francisco Lawman Flynn O’Rourke swore he’d bring his sister’s killer to justice.  So when suspect Aaron Cragun is identified, Flynn will do anything, even rent a boat and sail to Cragun’s remote home to find him.  But Flynn doesn’t anticipate the storm that wrecks his boat, the injury that erases his memory…or the beautiful woman who rescues him.

Sweet Sylvie is loving and kind—and Aaron Cragun’s daughter.  As Flynn’s memory returns, will the lawman keep his vow or allow himself to fall for the one woman forbidden to him?   

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?  Today’s posts will be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of THE LAWMAN’S VOW, and a special treat from Mr. Ghirardelli’s establishment.

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I'm an internationally published romance author, coming up on 40 novels and novellas. Most of my stories have been Westerns for Harlequin Historicals, but I set stories in other times and places as well. I'll also be writing contemporary stories for Harlequin Desire, with the first release in January 2013. You can learn more on my web site.

50 thoughts on “Win some San Francisco Chocolate–and THE LAWMAN’s VOW”

  1. Hello, Elizabeth! Happy Valentine’s Day : )

    You have put your lawman in a quandry–very intriguing story line! Flynn’s heart is pulled in two directions–his returning memories are at war with his newly discovered love. I am a long time fan of yours, and I would be very interested to see how you resolve Flynn’s emotional dilemma.

    Hard to choose just one favorite chocolate ; )

    Hershey’s Original Milk Chocolate Bar
    Plain M&Ms
    Whitman’s Sampler
    Russell Stover Home-Fashioned Favorites
    Hershey’s Miniatures
    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
    Peppermint Bark
    Outrageously Decadent Artisan Gourmet Chocolate

    Best of all: My Gran’s “made to perfection” Hershey’s Cocoa Fudge : )

  2. You are up EARLY Virginia! And your list is giving me chocolate cravings.
    I’d vote for your Gran’s fudge (making that original recipe is tricky, a fine art). Nothing beats home made!
    Good luck in the drawing.

  3. Hi, Pageturner. Never heard of Bendick’s Sporting and Military chocolate. But just the name sounds like powerful stuff. Since I love dark chocolate too, I’ll have to watch for that.

  4. Hi Elizabeth,,,my favorite is chocolate cover almonds,,,oh I could eat them until I explode,,lol,,,but I dont get them that often cause I have NO self control

  5. Hi Elizabeth,

    My favorite chocolate: chocolate covered strawberries. My absolute favorite treat. Next would be Godiva’s dark chocolate covered caramels.

    And now I need to hunt down some chocolate and get to writing. :o)

  6. I like semisweet chocolate. I can devour a bag of Toll House semisweet chocolate chips. Small, tasty tidbits that don’t seem too sinful to indulge in.

    I’ve never sampled Ghirardelli chocolate. A crime!

    Thanks for the chance to win your book THE LAWMAN’S VOW and Ghirardelli chocolate too!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  7. Thanks for the bit of chocolate history, it actually fits right into my work in progress. 🙂

    My fave chocolate. Yes.

    Oh, you wanted a type. I love plain of’ Hersheys. Especially in the kisses form.

  8. LOL Vickie. I know what you mean about no self control. Those almonds are yummy!

    Kirsten, you’re making my mouth water. Chocolate covered strawberries sound so good, especially for valentine’s day.

    Laurie–at last I’ve found a kindred soul who shares my chocolate chips addiction. I can’t write without them. The Ghirardelli ones are very dark and just barely sweet. Helps the guilt factor. 🙂

    And Hershey’s kisses are just plain irresistible, aren’t they, Lizzie? Your WIP has me intrigued. Wondering how the chocolate fits in.

    Good luck in the drawing, ladies.

  9. My favorite is whatever I can get my hands on… I don’t think I’ve ever had ‘bad’ chocolate… right now, plain & peanut M&Ms in call me from the living room…..

  10. My favorite chocolate is a Snicker or Baby Ruth or Almond Joy. I always read your books and will buy this one when it comes out.

  11. Sweet post Elizabeth! My favorite chocolate….Hershey Kisses (or anything Hersheys brand). I also love M&Ms and really, I won’t turn down any kind of chocolate 🙂

  12. Your new book sounds great. I love the cover. I love Hershey’s chocolates, M & M’s, Milky Way and Russell Stover chocolates.

  13. I guess my favorite chocolate would be any kind of chocolate at all….I love any and all of it…..

    I love the cover of your new book….It is amazing….

    Happy Valentine’s day to one and all…..I will be sharing my day with my husband who is in heaven but I know he will be right by my side as I place a single rose by his Urn….

    It’s a tradition every year on Valentine’s day we gave each other a single rose….When ask why we just gave one rose to one another we would say…”One single rose because we are one….”
    Everybody loved it….

    Thanks Elizabeth for such a great post….I hope you don’t mind me sharing about our rose….

    Walk in harmony,
    Melinda

  14. Back with you after my yoga class.

    You’re right, Cate. No bad chocolate! (It’s even supposed to ge good for you.
    🙂

    Thanks for the good word about my books, Goldie. And there’s nothing like those good old, fashioned candy bars. They bring back memories of being a kid.

  15. Lots of us are hooked on Hershey’s kisses, Lori. No way you can have just one.
    🙂

    Crystal and anon, those little m & m’s seem to be high on everybody’s list. Love their cute TV commercials!

    Melinda, thanks for sharing that beautiful story about the single rose. Hoping you can fill tomorrow with beautiful memories of your life together. Hugs and blessings.

  16. Great post Elizabeth, I do love me some cowboys and your book sounds fantastic. Also love me some chocolate about any kind of mild chocolate. Hersherys bars is one of my favorite but when it comes to chocolate I will eat about any of it. Lets face it you just can’t beat cowboys and chocolate together, that’s got to be the best thing ever!

  17. My favorite chocolate? Anything by Fazer and
    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and other Reese’s Peanut Butter products. Too bad they don’t sell Reese’s chocolates here in Finland!

  18. You’re a woman after my own heart, Elizabeth. I’ve never met any kind of chocolate candy I didn’t like. I’m thoroughly addicted. Just wish it’d go somewhere besides my waist. I fear I’m fighting a losing battle though. Interesting post about Ghirardelli!

    I recently had a unique experience on my cruise. We were on a side trip to see the Mayan ruins at Progresso, Mexico. I learned from our guide that the Mayans used Cocoa beans as currency. And not only that, I got to taste a cocoa bean. It tasted like semi-sweet chocolate that we buy. Very tasty.

  19. What’s my favorite kind of chocolate? What are you a sadist, to make me choose?

    You think I got into this generally OVAL shape by being picky?

    I just can’t decide! I had some dark chocolate with sea salt about six months ago that still haunts me.

    Chocolate caramel.
    I usually prefer milk chocolate but since they’ve decided dark chocolate will lengthen your life I’ve been doing my best to do justice to all dark chocolate I get near.

    I feel it’s my duty.

  20. I’ve learned to like the dark chocolate because it’s good for you lol. I seriously don’t feel as guilty when I eat it. I think my favorite would be chocolate covered cherries. When my dad was alive he would always buy some for my mom, my sister and me.

  21. Love that line, Mary. You should use it in a book. And yes, since dark chocolate is good for us, it’s our duty to eat all we can get our hands on. Or any other kind of chocolate.

    Aren’t they making Reese’s peanut butter cups in dark now? And you can’t get them in Finland, Minna? Maybe you should start an import business.
    🙂

  22. Wow, I’ve never eaten a cocoa bean, Linda. Surprised they tasted good and not bitter. Glad you had such a great cruise!

    And I’m afraid you can have those chocolate covered cherries, catslady. When I was a kid I ate a whole box full, and they made me so sick… Never again.
    🙂

  23. Reeces peanut butter cups are my absolute favorite thing. This book is on my to be read list and I can’t wait.
    Cathy

  24. Good morning, You guys on the east coast and middle of the country get up early. Us west coast lazies aren’t so much early birds. I have other things to do, first. Anyway, I have been to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, (my favorite city), several times. It isn’t too far from the Wharf. Anyway, the Ghirardelli chocolate is the BEST, followed closely by Hershey’s. If any of you can get to SF and Ghirardelli Square, do venture into the block. It is full of good stuff and in the center there are usually singers and a band. I’m really an old California hippie, so I love it.

  25. I am not a dark chocolate fan… enjoy mostly milk chocolate, sometimes white… truly love when the milk chocolate has nuts in it or crispies… love Lindt with hazelnuts, Hershey’s with almonds, etc… now I am in the mood for some chocolate!

  26. Yum, I love Reese’s peanut butter cups, too, Cathy. Hope you enjoy the book, especially if you win.

    Sweet or less sweet it’s all good, isn’t it, Stephanie.
    FWIW, the contest winner will get several options to choose from, so she’ll get a kind she likes.

  27. Hey, Mary J. I was hoping for a comment from someone who’s been to Ghirardelli square. It really is a great place. I love San Francisco, too. Used to go there when I visited my daughter in Santa Cruz. Alas, she’s moved, so who knows when I’ll get back.

    You’re putting me in the mood for chocolate, Colleen. Reading and answering all these chocolate-y comments has been a tough job today. Now go eat some chocolate.
    🙂

  28. Elizabeth, this is soooo interesting. I, too, am a chocolate fanatic. When I was a little girl, I had to have an allergy shot every Tuesday. My parents had to learn to give the shots, and they were mailed the syringe and medicine. I would hide under the bed on Tuesdays. LOLLOL Anyhow, my mom enticed me with a Hershey bar every week. I would get the candy bar after my shot. One trick she taught me, too, was always keep a bag of chocolate chips hidden in the pantry somewhere. That way, if you ever run out of candy bars, etc., you will have a “stash” to get you through. LOL I love Ghirardelli chocolates–my faves are the ones with the raspberry cream centers. BTW, this book of yours looks as good as chocolate! Man, I’d go with that lawman anywhere, anytime. LOL
    Hugs, and wishes for a very HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
    Cheryl

  29. Ahhhh, jeesh. I can’t name chocolates! I mean, come on! That’s like picking your favorite child! Suffice to say that ANY day with chocolate (and not just Valentine’s Day, of course) is a good day.
    Happy V Day, everyone!

  30. Hope the shots worked, Cheryl. At least you got a chocolate reward (and at least the shots didn’t make you not like chocolate).
    I’ve seen those raspberry creams in the store but haven’t tried them. They do look tempting.

    You’re absolutely right, Laney4. Any day with chocolate is a good day. I read about a scientific study somebody did to find out why people like chocolate. The result? Because it tastes good.

  31. Hi Elizabeth , great post. We visited Ghirardelli’s square in San Francisco not long ago. I love chocolate. I am a pig and admit it. I love chocolate with cocoanut and nuts, hence Almond Joy. Also..See’s nuts and chews. Yum. Oh, Hershey’s kisses are awesome, too. Xoxo

  32. Thanks for dropping by Estella. Lots of us love those little kisses.

    Yum, I love Almond Joy too, Tanya. Women seem to love chocolate even more than men do. Wonder why. Could it be hormonal??

    Have a happy Valentine’s day tomorrow.

  33. Hi Elizabeth,
    I enjoyed your post on chocolate! I’m looking forward to reading your new book!!! My ederly Mother and I are big fans of your books, when I finish reading one I always past the book on to her. My favorite chocolate is a Hershey’s Almond Bar or Turtles. Alas, I can’t actually eat chocolate anymore because it gives me migraines but my husband enjoys it for me.
    Have a Happy Valentine’s Day…

  34. Hi Sharon,
    Since you missed the drawing by a few minutes, maybe it’s just as well you can’t eat chocolate (I used to get migraines when I was younger, they’re awful, I finally outgrew them).
    Thanks for your post and have a great Valentine’s Day!

  35. Elizabeth, thank you for a bit of background to one of my favorite foods EVER. I’ve also been to Ghiradelli Square, and your information about Domenico (or Domingo) enriches my memories of the place.

  36. Thanks for dropping by, Ann, even though you didn’t make it in time for the drawing. It’s fun to hear from a fellow chocolate lover who’s been to Ghiradelli Square. Have a great day.

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