CHEF GINGER ELIZABETH HAHN
Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates is a Northern California chocolate boutique specializing in chocolate bonbons, macarons and ice cream.
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn has been working with chocolate and pastry professionally for her entire adult life. Her journey started in the kitchens of her mother and grandmother and led her to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where she graduated at the top of her class. She has studied with respected professionals from Santa Barbara to New York and Chicago. She returned to her native Northern California having reflected on the experience and knowledge she had gained and began to develop and distill her own distinct style which is imbued with impeccable craftsmanship and technique, memorably pronounced flavors and a touch of playfulness and femininity.
At 24 Ginger Elizabeth started her first company—a wholesale venture selling chocolate bonbons—with just a credit card as financing for the operation. Her drive and determination led her, 2 years later, to take a leap of faith and open her retail boutique on a premier block in Sacramento’s trendy Midtown neighborhood. Today her eponymous boutique is a neighborhood landmark and foodie destination with frequent lines down the street.
Ginger Elizabeth lives in rural Davis with her husband and business partner Tom and their 3 children. Tom brings both business experience as a cum laude graduate from USC’s Marshall School of Business and fine dining experience from time spent at The French Laundry and Manresa restaurants. As a family they enjoy cooking and baking together, entertaining and traveling.
Valrhona: Tell us a bit about your background as a pastry chef and what you are doing now.
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: I started working in the food and beverage industry when I was 14, and I never looked back. I got into chocolate heavily when I was about 20 and started my own company at 25 - a wholesale venture selling chocolate bonbons - with just a credit card as nancing for the operation. 3 years later, we took a leap of faith and opened a retail boutique on a premier block in Sacramento’s trendy Midtown neighborhood. We are currently in the process of opening up a second location in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood.
Valrhona: What inspired you to enter the world of pastry?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Growing up in the country, we would pick fruit and my mom would make them into amazing, simple desserts. I loved how you could take one simple ingredient, such as blackberries, and in minutes turn it into a blackberry cobbler - which is to this day still my favorite. This exposure to eating from the land really inspired me from a young age.
Valrhona: From where do your inspirations for new creations come?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Local organic farms, and traditional desserts.
Valrhona: Who in your life has been the biggest mentor/inspiration in your career?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: I've had a variety of mentors throughout my life who have shaped who I am today, but it all started with my mother and my grandmother. My mother taught us around the age of 5 how to cook and bake. By the time I was 9, I had free range in the kitchen and was very independent. My grandmother introduced me to preserving and bread baking, which are areas of the pastry eld that I hold near and dear to my heart.
Valrhona: What is your most famous dish?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Our Eureka lemon bonbon is a favorite among professionals. However, our top most popular items are the following: salty caramel macaron ice cream sandwich, Palet D'or bonbon, rose butter caramel macaron, and the Oaxacan hot chocolate.
Valrhona: What is your earliest dessert memory?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Blackberry cobbler, using blackberries from our yard. It was always served warm with half and half poured over it.
Valrhona: What is your favorite type of pastry to make? To eat?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: My favorite thing to make is something new, and I'm always formulating new recipes to try, especially ganaches. A simple chocolate pot de creme is my favorite thing to eat.
Valrhona: What is your favorite kitchen tip?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Using a PVC pipe to run a beautiful even layered chablon.
Valrhona: When pairing with chocolate, what is your favorite flavor combination?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Eureka Lemon and bittersweet chocolate.
Valrhona: What is the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative you’ve implemented and are the most proud of?
Ginger Elizabeth Hahn: Most recently we switched to 100% all local and organic fruit. Using fruit from sustainable farms helps our bee population, and fossil fuels. From the beginning we've always used biodegradable to-go containers and flatware. Our chocolate boxes are made from 99% post-consumable products, and we use 100% cotton ribbon. Recently, we just switched to bio-degradable, environmentally friendly hand soap and cleaners.
Celsius or Fahrenheit?Cake or Tart?
Favorite Restaurant?Go to snack?
Kru Japanese RestaurantSprouted organic almonds
Wine or CheeseCoffee or Tea?
Favorite Kitchen Tool?Craziest delicious flavor combination?
Offset spatula, hands down favorite toolCaviar and Caramel
Who do you follow on social media?
Ramon Morato and Phillippe Givre