The oceanside town of Carpinteria, California, population 13,000, gets easily overshadowed by its star-studded neighbors, Santa Barbara and Montecito. The likes of Kevin Costner, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Martin reside in this lovely stretch of Pacific coastline some 90 miles north of Los Angeles. But Carp, as it's affectionately known, boasts a few of its own stars, as well. Its beach is often called “the world’s safest,” and it hosts the annual Avocado Festival in October, the “largest free festival on the south coast.” Another edible local celebrity: Robitaille’s Candy, home to the Presidential Inauguration mint.
Robitaille’s is a family-owned business that has been in operation for over 30 years. Its mints, round discs of creamy white chocolate dyed all sorts of hues, took center stage at the 1985 and 1989 presidential inaugurations as the events’ official candy. Since then, patriotic pieces of minty delight have been made in red, white, and blue, along with Robitaille's traditional pretty pastel assortment, neatly lined up in a long, see-through box.
I used to visit Carpinteria – and Robitaille’s – almost yearly growing up, and while their mints were worthy of ample space in my suitcase, they’re not the only sugary star in the joint. The peanut caramel clusters, the coconut stacks, delectable varieties of homemade fudge, and cute candy-store trinkets meant that a good chunk of my afternoons (if I wasn’t boogie boarding at that oh-so-safe beach) were spent perusing the counters (covered with candy-stripe awnings) and shelves of Robitaille’s.
We know, January’s presidential inauguration is still five months distant. But we’ve got politics on our mind with the upcoming conventions. And, well, we just like candy. So, if you’re planning your own convention-watching, election-watching, or inauguration party, check out Robitaille’s website for info about shipping boxes of their officially delicious mints.
Of if you're lucky enough to be near Carp, visit Robitaille's brick and mortar location at 900 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, CA (805) 684-9340.
Photo: Robitaille's Candy