CALGARY -- It’s hot chocolate season but this year your cup of cocoa is being taken to a whole new level.

The hot chocolate bomb is a new trend blowing up online and that means booming business for local bakers.

Stephanie Henry, the owner of For Sweet Sakes in Chestermere, says she is booked until Christmas with orders.

“People have been emailing me from the United Kingdom, from the United States, everywhere in the world just asking me if I’ll ship them hot chocolate bombs. So, it’s been spreading like crazy,” she said.

Hot chocolate bombs are little chocolate spheres filled with cocoa, marshmallows and whatever else you want to put in them. They melt when you pour warm milk over them, creating an explosion in your mug.

Between orders for hot chocolate bombs and other desserts she offers, Henry is now hiring staff for her business.

She started the business in February after being laid off from her job in the oil and gas industry, and couldn’t be more grateful with the unexpected turn of events.

“It was very challenging but we have this now and I’m so thankful,” she says. “This really is my passion so I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Henry credits this new fall trend in large part to people sharing their own DIY creations online, something that’s really been heating up during the pandemic.

Experts say it’s not that surprising that people have latched onto social media more than ever during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Now, it’s all contained to the home and within very narrow circles. People still need to feel there is a world out there and that they are part of something bigger,” explains Dr. Maria Bakardjieva, a communication and media studies professor at the University of Calgary.

Bakardjieva says businesses need to be creative and open minded to reap the benefits of these online trends, especially given they may have lost that physical presence in a store.

“Business are in much more unchartered waters and sometimes it’s a matter of serendipity,” she said.

“It’s like finding new ways of being social, sometimes in favour of businesses and their products and sometimes at their expense.”