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've been chocolate tasting before with my mom and sister (The chocolate was paired with hot tea). I was in the area and had the opportunity to come to Chocolats du Calibressan for a chocolate tasting and couldn't pass it up! On their website they offer a Chocolate Tour and Tasting which are held on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 3 PM and you must RSVP by the Wednesday prior to the event. The tours last 1 hour, include a complimentary glass of champagne and are $25/person. We were with Captain Jack's Santa Barbara Tours and this was one of our stops. When we arrived we were immediately greeted by Jill (her husband Jean-Michel is the talent behind the scenes.) Each of us got to pick any 3 chocolates from the display cases and they also provided us with sample chocolates so we could taste the various kinds. For my 3, I picked La Arcada Turtle (milk chocolate ganache with "Cajeta" Mexican milk caramel in milk chocolate turtle shell, Balsamic (salted Balsamic vinegar in a dark chocolate shell), and the Rocher (praline and milk chocolate, rolled together in caramelized diced almonds and milk chocolate). All were so delicious and I also learned a lot about the art of chocolate making (even down to how to wash the molds). I'm a chocolate lover and this place was like heaven to me.
Charlene C.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA