From Accountant to Candy Maker, Eric Torres-Garcia is the author of Cocoa Bombs: Over 40 make-at-home recipes for explosively fun hot chocolate drinks. Here he tells us a little more about the new book, the cocoa bombs craze and going viral on TikTok.
You introduced Cocoa Bombs™ to the world in December 2019 with a TikTok video of a marshmallow-filled chocolate orb exploding under frothy hot milk. How was the response from the public?
The initial public feedback was fascinating! Our video got a lot of attention and I believe it was because people had never seen anything like it before. Admittedly, our prototype was a bit rough — people commented, hysterically, that it resembled a bath bomb or egg! But they quickly figured it out and started commenting with things like, “I need 87 of these now” and “take all my money!”
When I first uploaded the video in the afternoon, views spiked almost immediately. It took only a couple of minutes for the first order, and seconds later I watched the views jump to thousands, tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands followed by orders every couple of seconds. By the end of the day, the video had generated around 1.7M views and I had gained a following of over 10k+ people.
What do you attribute the phenomenal appeal of cocoa bombs to?
Cocoa bombs are a magical experience like no other. Before them, we really saw no innovation in hot cocoa, which is typically available in plain powder form. It’s so great seeing people try our product for the first time: their eyes light up as the chocolate mesmerizingly melts away and tons of tiny edible surprises rise to the top. I have never seen anyone respond with anything but wows and a big smile.
The new book is brimming with recipes like your popular Mexican Cinnamon Cocoa Bombs, autumnal Butterscotch Apple Crisp with hot apple cider and even vegan options. There are also cocoa bombs for occasions including Halloween and of course, Christmas. Do you have a favourite? Or is that like asking a parent to name their favourite child?
This is a hard question for me! I am a huge fan of chocolate and I love it in all shapes, flavours, and textures. We played with so many ideas during the development of our book and came up with some really compelling flavours. If I had to choose one, I would say that the Butterscotch Apple Crisp is on top of the list – it’s a unique and wonderful concoction. Overall, however, dark chocolate bombs continue to be my favourite! Dark chocolate is not too sweet, and I love savouring the richer notes.
What words of advice do you have for folks who are excited to make their own cocoa bombs at home?
Making hot chocolate bombs at home is a real culinary adventure! It requires some special kitchen tools — like silicone moulds and a chocolate scraper or spatula/palette knife — and we’ve outlined all of these in Cocoa Bombs™. They’re all readily available online and at specialty shops. We’ve tried to make the steps as simple as possible. Hopefully the recipes will inspire home cooks to experiment a bit, and to have some fun!
Before Cocoa Bombs™ went viral what were you doing with your life and work? What inspired you to create the cocoa bomb in the first place?
Before I started Cocoa Bombs™, I had spent most of 2019 in Turin, Italy pursuing a master’s degree in Finance. I realized after a while that I wasn’t happy, and although I loved Italy and Europe, I was not in love with my program. I returned to the U.S. that fall and started a job in entry level accounting, but felt like it wasn’t my calling.
I needed to switch gears. I began recollecting everything I had seen and experienced while abroad — the chocolate had made a particularly strong impression on me! – and did some research. Following an urge to create something new that might enable me to quit my job, I went and spent $15 on ingredients and started playing around with some ideas. My biggest inspiration was a particular oversized chocolate Easter treat that isn’t found in the States. After a lot of trial and error, the first Cocoa Bomb™ was born!
Where is Cocoa Bombs™ now?
In late summer of 2021, we finished a new place to call home in Blackfoot, Idaho. Our new chocolate factory is really going to help us take things to the next level. We are committed to growing our business and local communities, all while remaining socially responsible. We stick to good-for-you ingredients such as ethically sourced chocolate and natural flavours for all our products and place a lot of emphasis on sustainability. I think all companies, big and small, should aim for those same values.
Do you think our obsession with cocoa bombs is here to stay?
I firmly believe that Cocoa Bombs™ are here to stay! I like to think of them as a new Christmas staple, similar to the candy cane, gingerbread houses, eggnog, and so on. People are always going to want chocolate and hot cocoa. Though our signature Cocoa Bombs™ will continue to be our main product, we have also been working on new items and are really looking forward to sharing them in the near future.