Gourmet chocolate can be quite expensive and in some cases rare so if you plan on storing it for some time it’s important to do it properly. If you’re a chocolate enthusiast you’ll want keep this elegant treat looking and tasting its finest without the worry of it becoming stale. Following a few easy tips can keep your chocolate its freshest and will preserve even the most custom blended flavours and aromas.
One of the most important reasons for the proper storage of you favourite chocolates is to avoid the effects of blooming. This occurs when fats or sugars from the chocolate rises to the surface and creates a whitish colour that can resemble mold. While this substance is completely harmless, it may ruin the visual appeal of your chocolate and for a lot of chocolate lovers that is simply unacceptable.
If blooming does occur, dark chocolate can always be melted and remolded to recover its proper texture and smooth appearance. Because blooming does not affect taste, this is a perfectly acceptable practice and can also correct any deformation from melting.
A lot of people head directly for their fridge when they want to store something to avoid spoilage. Chocolate is another matter so think again. Freezing or refrigerating chocolate can expose it to unwanted moisture build up and temperature fluctuation which could cause blooming of its fats and sugars.
In some cases it may be unavoidable to use refrigeration for storage. Some blends of chocolate, such as white chocolate, are higher in milk content and may go rancid if exposed to too much heat or sunlight. You may also choose to store your chocolate for a much longer time period than the expiration date recommends. Living in an area that temperatures can vary may be another reason storage in a controlled, refrigerated environment is necessary. If refrigeration is necessary, allow it to return to room temperature when removing it from storage to avoid moisture from temperature changes.
Whether storing your chocolate on the shelf or in the fridge if it’s required, proper packing will make a noticeable difference in the longevity and sustained quality of your chocolate. Most chocolate requires proper storage for aesthetic reasons only, but if you’re a chocolate connoisseur, the visual appeal of your chocolate probably play a big role in your enjoyment of it.
Allow your chocolate to remain in any original packaging it came in. The tightly wrapped foil found sealing most gourmet chocolates does an outstanding job at keeping out moisture and other unwanted particulates. Adding your pre-packaged chocolate to an additional air tight container or sealed bag will give you a further edge against potential moisture. If refrigeration is not required, a dark, dry place should do for storage.
If you want to get technical with your chocolate storage, you’ll be looking for a cool, dry location. Chocolate is very sensitive to light, temperature, and humidity so temperatures between 15 and 17 °C (59 to 63 °F) and areas with less than 50% humidity are ideal.
Chocolate is also extremely sensitive to the aromas of other food and can pick up their flavour. Properly sealing them can help in preventing any unwanted contamination, but avoiding storage spots near strong smelling food such and meat, spices, garlic, and onions will ensure a much more successful storage.