GUILFORD — A chocolate sphere loaded with marshmallows that exuberantly burst forth from the shell when triggered by warm milk, the hot cocoa bomb is all the rage this season.
With temperatures dipping, days growing shorter, and a brutal 2020 coming to a close, there’s no better time, arguably, for the decadent distraction of an exploding cup of hot chocolate.
And with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, there’s no better time, it seems, for an outdoor safe shopping holiday market with upwards of 30 artisans and food vendors offering gifts and stocking stuffers like the Hot Cocoa Bomb.
Just ask Nikki Rasmussen, the hot cocoa bomb maker and organizer the event, which will be held at Bishop’s Orchards on Saturday, Nov. 28.
“People want to shop locally, especially now, but they’re fearful of going inside,” said Rasmussen, a seemingly indefatigable nurse practitioner and owner of Guilford’s YOLO Laser Center & Med Spa who started Little Whimsy Boutique Bakery as a “pandemic project,” as she put it.
That, coincidentally, was another motivation for the holiday market. “This is a way to support other local artisans and crafters who haven’t been able to market what they make as much as they’d like to in the last several months,” she said.
Rasmussen, who will also be offering gift baskets and cookies, said there will be something for everyone at the market, from hand-made menorahs, to fresh wreaths and swags from Van Wilgen’s, and From The Heart’s tree skirts, to That Smorgasbord woodenware and charcuterie boards from Matt Aaron Designs, to Artistic Vision’s hand-crafted silver and Seaside sea glass jewelry.
For those among us with a weakness for inventive off-beat items, there will be unicorn hats, turkey hats, and woodland owl hats from Granny G’s Creations; the Woolly Sisters’ recycled wool and cashmere mittens, and handmade scarves; and Lisa Maree Designs’ eye-catching hand-sewn bags.
Then there’s celebrated Guilford potter Linda Knudsen Westgard.
Westgard, who’s known for designing and throwing aesthetically pleasing functional pieces like bowls, mugs, and plates, said she’s excited at the prospect of a holiday market outside.
“It’ll be nice to be out there with everyone, though at a distance,” she said, referring to the minimum of 15 feet separating each vendor.
That’s not the only safety measure. Everyone will be going in one direction and masks will be mandatory for vendors and patrons. Contactless payment methods are highly recommended.
“Being that I’m a nurse practitioner, the whole idea was to shop safely,” Rasmussen said.
Just beware of those hot cocoa bombs.