An ordinary looking ball of chocolate is bringing joy to millions around the world, including those in the Valley.
A simple search through the social media apps TikTok and Instagram shows that among the most trending topics are hot chocolate bombs, balls of chocolate that erupt to reveal marshmallows and hot chocolate powder once warm milk is added to it.
The cozy winter treat has become a hot item based on their social media activity, and the amount of hot chocolate bombs local businesses are making and selling.
“Our store specializes in selling chocolate treats such as truffles, macaroons, candy apples but we put that away,” Laura Fernandez, owner of the Mission-based Choco House said. “Now we’re only making hot chocolate bombs, 95% of our business these last few weeks have been from these sales. It’s making up for all the money we’ve lost this year.”
Fernandez is one of many local chocolatiers who has seen business increase in their shops due to a demand in the hot chocolate bombs. Her store, located at 2002 N. Conway Ave. #1, was one of many who recently reopened after being shuttered for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laura Gomez has also seen a jump in business due to demand for the hot cocoa bombs. The Mission resident is the owner of The Sugar Shop, an online bakery. She admitted that the bombs, which can take between five to 10 minutes to make depending on the amount of chocolate layers, are not her favorite things to make.
“I’m better with chocolate dipped treats but I just responded to the demand that has grown into something overwhelming but in a good way, I’m very thankful for the business,” Gomez said. “The bombs are a literal hot item all over the world. If you even try to buy the molds to make them, they’re hard to come by.”
The bombs are made with silicone molds that are coated in chocolate and frozen for a few minutes before getting filled with marshmallows and hot chocolate powder. The chocolate shells are then “glued” by melting the rims and then sealing the ball you’ve made.
“It took me over a month to receive 20 molds, enough to catch up on orders,” Fernandez said. “It makes sense that this is popular because of the social media craze and it’s the perfect weather for hot chocolate. A lot of people are buying this as gifts when this time last year, we were selling our regular stuff decorated in a Christmas-theme.”
With many shops selling the hot chocolate bombs, many of them are doing their own twist on them.
Choco House, for example, sells eight different flavors of hot chocolate bombs which include Chocolate Abuelita, Oreo, Peppermint and Unicorn.
“If we had more flavors it’d be hard to keep up with the demand,” Fernandez said. “When I first saw this trending in September I didn’t think they’d be so popular but now it’s the only thing we’re selling and it’s making business pick up like crazy.”
Gomez’s hot chocolate bombs all use white hot chocolate powder but are also stuffed with edible glitter and come with many decorations. She also started selling gender reveal hot chocolate bombs that melt to reveal either pink or blue edible glitter.
“It’s an aesthetic choice and I haven’t seen other people decorating their hot chocolate bombs like that,” Gomez said. “It’s for people to enjoy at home. I can’t pinpoint if the pandemic is what’s making them popular but I’m grateful it’s been so busy. Sometimes I have to turn off my phone because of all the messages and orders I get at all hours.”
Despite the popularity of the hot chocolate bombs, both bakers see the hot cocoa bomb as a fad that will die down in weeks, probably by March when the weather starts getting warmer.
“The Valley isn’t a place to drink hot chocolate year round anyway,” Gomez said. “There’s been many baking trends over the years, and I’m sure there’ll be something coming out by the spring that people will be interested in. The chocolate bombs are not my favorite thing to make but I like making them because my customers are asking for them, so I am happy if they’re happy. Whatever they want is what we try to do for them.”