Ending 2020 With a Sweet Bit of Release

Ending 2020 With a Sweet Bit of Release

The hot chocolate bomb is a tasty metaphor for a pent-up year.

After months upon months of palliative food trends — baking sourdough bread, swirling up cups of Dalgona coffee, cutting into deceptive cakes — 2020 is ending not with a whimper but a bang, in the form of a hot chocolate bomb.

These hollow orbs, designed to dissolve dramatically in warm milk, began to take over TikTok back in October. Now they’re everywhere: Search for #hotchocolatebombs on Instagram, and you’ll find more than 100,000 photos and videos of the giant truffle-like treats, filled with marshmallows, candy and — for the grown-up consumer — alcohol. Even major grocery chains, like Trader Joe’s and Costco, sell them.

Local chocolatiers and bakers are getting in on the trend, too. Lori Waiser, 43, an owner of Lor’s Little Bakeshop in Morristown, N.J., began making hot chocolate bombs in late November after requests from some of her corporate clients. In the first three weeks, she sold 600 of them, which she made by hand in sets of three.

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Ending 2020 With a Sweet Bit of Release

“I think these cocoa bombs are just adding instant joy to someone’s life,” Ms. Waiser said. The reward, though worthwhile, is also fleeting, she noted. “These are taking me close to 15 minutes apiece, and someone’s dissolving it in less than 20 seconds,” she said.

“I watched somebody pour their steaming hot milk, and their chocolate bomb obviously exploded with complete perfection, and I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s fun.’” Ms. Traynor had participated in some of the year’s other social food trends, but the appeal of the bombs, she said, felt different.

In particular, she enjoyed being able to watch her children experience an ephemeral bit of delight. “We are so isolated,” she said. “So I really made a point, since spring, of trying to spark as much joy in my kids’ lives as possible.”

In the end, the hot chocolate bomb may be the ultimate memorial to 2020, the jettisoning of emotion in a year where it has previously been bottled up. Under pressure, everything was bound to crack open. Call it the perfect metaphor for the moment, held together by a fragile chocolate shell.