It took about 3,500 years, social media and a pandemic for hot chocolate "bombs" to become one of fall's top trends in the realm of food and drink.
Back to the 3,500 years ago for a second — the Olmecs started experimenting with cacao plants in Mesoamerica, in which they took the plant's nibs and formed a paste, which was then mixed with water. In a nutshell, that's how hot chocolate was born.
Today, some local restaurants stick to cocoa powder, while others use syrups or chunks of chocolate, which is then mixed with steamed milk or water. We've seen restaurants take this classic and add a special twist to it, whether it be topping it with marshmallows, gummy bears or whipped cream, or mixing in a spoonful of Nutella.
But in 2020, it's what's on the inside that counts. Literally. Think back nearly 30 years ago to when Nestle's Wonder Balls debuted. That's the idea of these hot chocolate bombs. Chocolate balls stuffed with goodies … but then melted by a hot liquid pouring on top of it.
Each spot makes and stuffs theirs differently, but the process is generally the same: melt chocolate; pour it into a set of molds; freeze it for a couple of minutes; stuff one half with sweets; attach both sides and freeze again.
Here are three places offering their own versions:
At this ice cream and cereal bar, the chocolate bombs are made in-house by owner Sergio DeCiantis, who gets help from chef Stephanie Mincieli. Milk chocolate spheres are filled with Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix and say, Lucky Charms marshmallows. DeCiantis said he’s still experimenting with other fillers, like Oreos, peppermint bark and cereal. At Spoons, the customer gets two cups, one with the chocolate bomb in it and the other with the exact amount of hot milk needed to melt the bomb. It's served in a to-go drink carrier that includes directions. Each bomb is 2 and 3/4 inches in diameter and costs $8. Spoons is at 3935 Merrick Rd. in Seaford. 516-331-0338. spoonsli.com
ITA Kitchen, Bay Shore:
This Italian restaurant offers a variety of bombs, from milk chocolate to white chocolate to milk chocolate with peppermint, all of which are bought from The Perfect Cupcake, which creates its goods in a "private commercial kitchen." The chocolate bombs, stuffed with cocoa powder and marshmallows, come in kid and adult versions. Kids get theirs with hot, steamed milk poured over it. Adults can choose from frothed RumChata or have it served with a side of Baileys Irish Cream or Frangelico. Recommended for dine-in, but takeout also available. Each bomb is approximately three inches in diameter and costs $6.95 (no liquor) or $10.95 (with liquor). ITA Kitchen is at 45 W. Main St. in Bay Shore. 631-267-5916. itakitchenbayshore.com
The Chocolate Duck, Farmingdale:
The 33-year-old chocolate shop is offering chocolate bombs in the shape of a pumpkin and stuffed with hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows and festive candies like spiders and eyes. The idea here is to change the bombs as the holidays change. For Thanksgiving, it plans on making available bombs in the shape of turkey; and for the winter holidays, Santa, ornaments and snowflakes. The Chocolate Duck also takes custom orders where you can choose your own chocolate flavor, like pumpkin spice, mint chocolate or cranberry (call at least two days ahead to order). Each bomb is 2 and 3/4 inches in diameter and costs $5.75, or a pack of six for about $30. The Chocolate Duck is at 310 Main St. in Farmingdale. 516-249-0887. chocolateduck.com