The Mystery of the Chocolate Bissou! by Angela Borda

The Mystery of the Chocolate Bissou! by Angela Borda

By Jean-Michel Carre on Feb 10, 2019 at 01:26 AM in In The News

The Mystery of the Chocolate Bissou!

by Angela Borda

Chocolatier Jean-Michel would be the first to say that his wife Jill Marie is the better half of Chocolats du CaliBressan. You can most often find her in the Santa Barbara shop, a beautiful, welcoming woman with trademark red lips and a smile for everyone she meets. But what is that you see? In the chocolate case, row after row of ruby red lips? The chocolate variety, of course. Could it be coincidence? “Not at all,” Jean Michel tells me. “I wanted to pay tribute to my wife and I decided to make this sensual chocolate. It’s our trademark.” A mix of dark and milk chocolate is magicked into a ganache that is infused with tangerine liquor. Then it is robed in a hearty layer of white chocolate, and painted a shade of red that evokes the perfect valentine. Bite into the mellow sweetness of white chocolate, the luxurious ganache, and the taste of the sweetest orange you can imagine. Kings have traded their kingdoms for less.

Personally, I like to gift the bissou to friends and family as a gesture of love. You are literally sharing a kiss with them. And if the occasion is a sumptuous one, consider pairing it with wine. Jean-Michel and Jill Marie do this for catered events as well. They will invite a winemaker to bring their best bottles, taste test, and find the exact right chocolate to pair with the wine. He recently paired the bissou with a red Côtes-du-Rhône for a private event.

As we taste test and ponder the bissou, I wonder, does Jean-Michel ever tire of eating chocolate? After all, this is a food he works with all the time. I ask Jean-Michel and he shakes his head vehemently. “I eat  chocolate every day! The day I cannot eat chocolate, I’ll stop making chocolate!” I hope that day never comes and so does he! In the meantime, if you need a kiss to brighten your day, stop by the shop!

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.


I was very happy with my experience at Chocolats du Calibressan. I purchased four truffles and a cookie to eat in their shop and took a seat at the counter overlooking the street. The chocolates were each extremely fine and well flavored. I would compare them favorably to any other high end truffles in Santa Barbara. I especially liked that I got a little truffle/menu card with my plate so I could browse their selections afterward and be better prepared next time to make appealing selections. I realize this probably means they don't change their flavors very often, but the ones I tried were very good and I wouldn't mind being able to expect they be there each time I visit. Prices are fair for the quality, service, location and d├ęcor. The young woman that helped me was very enthusiastic, upbeat and professional. The shop was clean, well lit and was not cramped inside. It has a very nice atmosphere and feel. The location is easy to find right on State street and there is some street parking nearby.
Erin K.
Ojai, CA