Hot chocolate bombs go viral with Pittsburgh cocoa-loving kids

This story first appeared in NEXTpittsburgh, the go-to publication about the people advancing Pittsburgh and the innovative and cool things happening in the region. See more stories here and sign up to get their newsletters. 

This year’s been a dud, to say the least, but thanks to some local candy makers, at least you can end it with a taste explosion.

Cocoa bombs, aka hot chocolate bombs, the festive food fad of 2020, are dropping all over Pittsburgh.

The concept is simple: Place the chocolate ball, which is filled with cocoa mix and tiny marshmallows, into a mug. Pour hot milk over the confection and watch the fun as the chocolate slowly dissolves and bursts open and a delicious winter beverage emerges. (See the video below.)

Bill Sarris, president of Canonsburg-based Sarris Candies, says sales blew up as soon as they introduced the sweet treat in mid-November. The company sold 5,000 bombs in approximately two hours.

“It crashed our site and we had to stop online sales,” Sarris says.

Employees are working hard to restock the online store. A new batch of three-ounce bombs (priced at $6.95 each) should be available by Dec. 15.

Sarris, who saw the viral candy craze on TikTok, says they’ll be making cocoa bombs year-round with seasonal twists.

Jess Porter, director of operations at Square Café in East Liberty, saw the cocoa bombs online and wanted to get in on the craze.

When buying them proved impossible — most places have limits on the number you can purchase — she decided to make her own.

There are a variety of flavors, from a vegan-friendly dark chocolate bomb with regular cocoa mix and a white chocolate bomb with peppermint hot cocoa mix to a milk chocolate shell filled with cinnamon and cayenne cocoa mix. They sell for $8.50 each or six for $45. Order online for pickup or delivery here.

Porter says they’re getting orders from all over, including California.

“Luckily, we have a pastry chef on staff,” Porter says. “So, her and I buckled down and have been hammering these things out every day for the past four days. They have been flying off the shelf and, honestly, we are so excited about it.”

Pittsburgh has plenty of places where you can indulge your sweet tooth. Check them out this holiday season and worry about your next dentist visit later.