Sweet Petite’s Confections Are (Almost) Too Pretty to Eat
Throughout May, San Diego’s most colorful chocolate shop Sweet Petite Confections, known as the shop with the chocolates that are “too pretty to eat,” is celebrating its bubblegum pink-floored store’s two-year anniversary with a novel, 16-piece bonbon collection featuring the year’s top flavors. Those who have always wondered what strawberry lemonade or café con cajeta might taste like in chocolate can wonder no more.
Bonus points: Sweet Petite Confections will donate $1 to the San Diego Food Bank for every box of anniversary bonbons sold. The time to indulge in guilt-free calories is now!
Sweet Petite Confections is an artisanal confectionery founded by chocolatier Michelle Lomelin, who launched the company after leaving a two-decade career in fashion design. It is because of Lomelin’s former career that Sweet Petite Confections’ chocolates are designed unlike any others; each white, milk or dark chocolate is adorned in on-trend designs created using special prints, colors, glitters, dusts, hand-painting and other techniques – the result being fashionable pieces that catch the eye and at times hardly appear to be chocolate.
Lomelin sells her vibrant chocolates in-store and online while leading monthly chocolate classes, spirit pairings at hotspots like downtown’s Vin De Syrah and You & Yours Distilling Co., and an enhanced wholesale chocolate business including custom chocolate business cards “printed” with the purchaser’s choice of messaging. To date, clients like The Lodge at Torrey Pines, The Hotel Del Coronado, BMW and The Farmers Insurance Open are happy fans.
Organic and local or regional ingredients are used whenever possible, including honeys from Julian and Descanso, fruits from Specialty Produce, fruit purees like black currant and Meyer lemon from Napa Valley and a variety of pâte de fruits from Blue Chair Fruit, a Bay Area jam company specializing in sustainably farmed fruits. Lomelin also makes many products in-house, from rose petal pâte de fruit to nut pastes and pralines.
As key holidays draw near and seasons change, limited edition bonbons in unique flavors, colors and prints become available for purchase. Standout collections have included this year’s Steampunk’d Valentine’s bonbons topped with chocolate gears and finished with a metallic sheen, Cherry Blossom bonbons to celebrate the flowers’ 100th anniversary in Washington D.C. and The Queen of Hearts bonbons inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Specialty molded chocolates also make surprise appearances, including a Star Wars-themed Millennium Falcon coated with an edible silver dust.
After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Lomelin entered the fashion industry; earliest jobs included pattern-maker for Quiksilver and assistant designer for boardsport brand Gordon & Smith. For nearly a decade she handled designing and merchandising for Mens and Juniors surfwear lines, in the mid-1990s began designing Misses, Childrens and Tween ready-to-wear lines, and at one point spent two years as a Halloween costume designer.
By 2000, the need for a change drew Lomelin away from the style scene and propelled her – with the encouragement of her mother, Nancy, who had initially introduced her to chocolate making – to pursue a new career as a chocolatier. Sweet Petite Confections’ first sales occurred in 2008, with Lomelin offering her first bonbon collection for Valentine’s Day in 2009. Today, she is perhaps the only chocolatier crafting chocolates in the way one might design a clothing line, selecing colors, prints, packaging and flavor profiles for each season and holiday, and using traditional fashion design processes including a merchandising calendar, a marketing calendar and inspiration boards.
In addition to this month’s anniversary bonbons, fans should watch for a partnership with San Diego’s newly opened You & Yours Distilling Co.; together, the two woman-owned businesses will host a Summer Sips n’ Sweets cocktail and chocolate pairing on Friday, June 9. Priced at $45 per person and taking place in You & Yours’ tasting room, the evening will see head distiller Laura Johnson and Lomelin guiding guests through five increasingly complex courses of cocktails, bonbons and barks carefully picked to complement one another and inspired by the summer season.
Those wanting to master the chocolate making process can also look forward to Sweet Petite Confections’ summer chocolate classes on June 10, July 8 and August 12. Over the course of two hours, participants of all ages learn the basics of working with chocolate while making barks and molded chocolates, ultimately taking home nearly 1.5 pounds of their own creations. Explore these and other upcoming events at www.sweetpetiteconfections.com/events.
Sweet Petite Confections is located on the border of Bay Park and Clairemont at 3582 Mount Acadia Boulevard and can be reached at (858) 688-0210. Store hours are Monday through Friday 1-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from noon-5 p.m. For more information, visit www.sweetpetiteconfections.com or socialize with @SweetPetiteConf.