Bienvenue a Santa Barbara! A Glorious Gift Basket!

Bienvenue a Santa Barbara! A Glorious Gift Basket!

By Jean-Michel Carre on Oct 26, 2018 at 03:46 PM in In The News , Events

“Welcome!” Jill Marie says as I sit down at the mahogany tables at the back of the Santa Barbara shop.
“Make yourself at home!” I feel especially welcome because I am looking at the beautiful new
“Bienvenue a Santa Barbara” gift basket that Jill Marie has designed and put together as a special treat
for her customers. A wicker basket is stuffed with chocolate, wrapped in shiny cellophane, and topped
with an exuberant profusion of gold and crème ribbons. Waiting inside is the “Collection Envy”: a thirty-
six chocolate collection of all of Jean-Michel’s chocolates, packaged in a red box that folds out like a fan.
Jill Marie assures me “These chocolates are small batch and are made a day or two before shipping, so
are extremely fresh because we have the chef on hand. No preservatives are used because that would
affect the flavor.”
You will be delighted as more gifts tumble out. Jill Marie especially loves the Galettes, a tin of thin butter
biscuits from France. “They’re so good! Buttery, crispy, you try to stop at one and you can’t. I really like
them with a cup of hot tea.” Perhaps follow this up with the Caramel Tendres, chewy caramels also from
France. While feasting, you will not lack for reading. The gift basket includes Mountain Drive Santa
Barbara Community Book, which, as Jill Marie says, “is about the 1940 years of Santa Barbara’s Back
Mountain Drive. You know, people making great wine, stomping the grapes with their feet, singing and
dancing in the moonlight…” She smiles as she says that some of her older customers see the book and
speculate if their photo might not be in it! And should your fingers have a wee bit of chocolate on them
after all this, the gift basket has a pretty Santa Barbara dishtowel.
This may be the moment to interject my own philosophy on gift baskets. If you send a generic “tower of
chocolate” gift from a catalog, you are likely spending a lot of money to send something of poor quality.
And you really don’t want to be associated with dusty, regrettable gifts. Or as Jill Marie says, “If you
want to impress your clients, don’t pick something you wouldn’t give to a dear friend. This is not like an
average gift basket. It’s an elegant, delicious, fine chocolate gift basket.”
So, who deserves to receive the “Bienvenue a Santa Barbara!” gift basket? First, it would make a
stunning Christmas present for anyone, and Jill Marie will ship it for you. But in particular, you might
send this to clients as a unique ambassador of Santa Barbara’s sweetness. Also, to welcome a new
resident of Santa Barbara, new in-laws, out-of-town guests, or perhaps all those bridesmaids coming
from out of town to your wedding.
And as a last sweet touch, attached to the back of the basket, outside the cellophane, is a little thank
you from Jill Marie, one of their trademark “bissou” or kiss. So even if you have lived in Santa Barbara all
your life, there’s no reason not to treat yourself to a little welcome gift!
Angela Borda is a Santa Barbara food writer who has been enjoying Chocolats du CaliBressan for years
and is delighted to be sharing her chocolate experience with you.

Testimonials

From retail to wholesale, their product is stellar. I love their custom logo chocolates and creative and so yummy flavours
Melissa L S Y
From Ventura