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 love love love these gourmet chocolates. I'm not a big fan of dark chocolate, only milk chocolate, but these gourmet chocolatiers have me hooked on EVERYTHING!! My favorites are the Buddha shaped chocolate and the La Arcada caramel turtle. I have to get one of each every time I go by. Recently, I was trying to use up some deals on my Axxess card so I popped in to get 25% off my purchase. With a deal like that I couldn't only buy two little chocolates. So I bought a few extra fun pieces and also discovered their hot chocolate lollipops!! The next day at work I made myself a fancy cup of morning hot cocoa and not only was it fun, it was also DELICIOUS!! I loved that the chocolate melted all the way down and didn't leave any on the stick. Don't want fine chocolate to go to waste!! Next time I pop in, I'll be sure to purchase one of each flavor... or more!
Abbey F.
Santa Barbara, CA