San Diego Convention Center debuts line of handcrafted chocolate bars for Comic-Con 2023

The Sodexo Live! culinary team is in charge of making 5,000 limited-edition candy bars in four new flavors to commemorate the annual event.
2023 chocolate bar collection
The four chocolate bars in the 2023 Comic-Con collection are wrapped in paper designed to reflect their names. | Photos courtesy of Sodexo Live!

Comic-Con 2023 comes to the San Diego Convention Center from July 20-23, and the Sodexo Live! culinary team has been busy handcrafting and wrapping 5,000 themed chocolate bars to sell at the event.

The convention center’s executive chef Sufi Karaien and pastry chef Krisitianna Zabala developed four new flavors to commemorate the annual event, each infused with the same spirit of fantasy and fun. Then it was up to the culinary team to make 100 candy bars every 90 minutes in the onsite kitchen in the weeks leading up to the convention.

Each year, different varieties are produced, with these four making their 2023 debut:

• The Oooh Bay bar is a fresh take on s’mores, with house-made graham and torched marshmallow both flavored with ube, the purple-colored yam popular in Filipino cuisine. A white chocolate shell enrobes the ingredients.

Oooh Bay bar

A Sodexo Live! culinary team member torches purple-colored marshmallow for the Oooh Bay chocolate bar. 

• The Lunchbox Hero bar features classic PB&J in a milk chocolate shell with peanut butter rice crisps and concord grape jelly.

• The Crop Circle Crunch bar is composed of white chocolate, crispy sweet cornbread, dried blueberries and honeycomb candy.

• The Cosplay Cracker bar is a combo of dark chocolate, strawberry Pop Rocks, freeze-dried strawberries and a basil garnish.

“Beyond the creative combinations, the flavors reflect the diversity of our culinary team and our region, especially evident through the vibrant ube flavor of the ‘Oooh Bay’ bar,” Karaien said. “Here in our kitchen, you know it’s summer when the chocolate-making begins!”

Once the flavors are finalized, the Convention Center’s creative team tastes each chocolate bar for inspiration in giving it a name and developing a theme. Then graphic designer Grayson Van Loon creates paper wrappers to coordinate with each theme.

The chocolate bars sell for $10 each and a “golden ticket” will be hidden in four of the 5,000 available. The golden ticket can be redeemed for a $100 Starbucks gift card.

The 2023 candy collection is the latest installment of an annual tradition that began in 2016 as an exclusive offering for Comic-Con attendees.



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