BOISE, Idaho — If you've been anywhere near the internet in the last two years, you probably know cocoa bombs are officially the bomb, but did you know the sweet trend can be traced back to Boise?
Blackfoot-native and Boise State alumni Eric Torres-Garcia first got the idea to reinvent the way the world makes hot cocoa in 2019.
While working and studying abroad in Italy, Torres-Garcia worked at a gelato shop and grew an appreciation for the world of confections. He was also inspired by a popular children's treat in Europe that had a small toy inside a hard chocolate shell.
When he got back to Boise, he had an idea.
Torres-Garcia spent about $15 on some chocolate chips, marshmallows, and a round Christmas ornament from the dollar store to serve as his spherical mold.
Once he got a promising cocoa bomb prototype, Eric posted a video of the milk pour process on TikTok with the simple caption: "Who would buy these?"
He hoped to get a few prospective buyers and could make a batch of bombs the next day to turn a profit.
"I severely underestimated that by a lot!" Torres-Garcia said.
"I posted that video around noon, and by 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. it had over a million views and I had sold like $7,000 worth of product and I had only ever made one cocoa bomb!"
What he created quickly become known around the world as a "cocoa bomb": hard chocolate shell outside, marshmallows inside. Just add it to a mug, pour in your piping hot milk, and watch the bomb explode. Give it a stir and you've got yourself a cup of hot cocoa.
Success certainly came quickly.
"It was exciting, it was thrilling, but it was also like, ‘What am I going to do now? This is a lot! I’m not even a legal business entity, I have no idea what to do next!'" Torres-Garcia said.
Torres-Garcia turned to his connections at Boise State who helped connect him with an attorney, and eventually an LLC and a trademark. That first year, Torres-Garcia made between 1,500 and 2,000 cocoa bombs by hand. Fast forward to 2021, and Cocoa Bombs shipped out more than 150,000 cocoa bombs that are now sold at stores all across the country.
"We’ve definitely experienced explosive growth year after year," Torres-Garcia said.
Since then, Torres-Garcia experimented with new flavors like cinnamon, raspberry, pumpkin spice, cookies and cream, peppermint and S'mores.
Torres-Garcia expects business to boom exponentially in the next few years and envisions cocoa bombs becoming a holiday staple alongside gingerbread houses and candy canes.
The company now employs about a dozen people and operates out of a 7,000 square foot facility in Eric's hometown of Blackfoot, prioritizing where they get their ingredients.
"We actually make everything in the United States so we source the chocolate from US suppliers, we source the marshmallows from US suppliers," Torres-Garcia said. "Our boxes are actually made in Idaho as well, so we have a special plastic packaging that gets produced a couple hours away from Boise."
You can buy those products straight from the Cocoa Bombs website or learn how to make them at home with Eric's Cocoa Bombs cookbook.