How to avoid chocolate storage mistakes?
While there are different rules of thumb for each kind of chocolate, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. If not, the chocolate will change structure and appearance and won’t keep its good taste.
Ideal circumstances for storing high quality chocolate
- Constant temperature between 54-68°F because fluctuation in temperature melts and crystallizes the cocoa butter (above 77°F).
- Keep air humidity lower than 65% because a higher humidity reduces flavor and starts the condensation process on chocolate. Water drops leave white stains behind (see further).
- It is important to protect chocolate from light and air, it affects the flavor. Keep in an airtight container on a dark place.
- Chocolate easily absorbs other scents. Do store the chocolate in a hygienic and clean room, free from odors. Keep also away from meat, fish, cheese, citrus fruit, mint, spices, …
- Of course other ingredients combined with chocolate (like butter, milk, eggs, cream, fruits, nuts, …) shorten the shelf time a lot, sometimes it’ll last only for a few days.
- When stored correctly plain dark chocolate can be preserved for 24 months and milk chocolate for 18 months. Our Genauva chocolates (pralines) have a shelf life up to 12 months.
- During summer you might make an exception to the “no fridge rule”. Be sure your chocolate is tightly wrapped and moisture proof. If it goes straight from the fridge to room temperature, condensation will form and alter the appearance and texture. When you take it out, wait until the chocolate has reached room temperature before unwrapping.
- Always allow chilled chocolate to come to room temperature before enjoying it; cold chocolate doesn’t melt or disperse flavor as nicely.
Genauva Chocolate gems in the treasure chest
Solid Chocolate vs Pralines
Bar chocolate is the most stable kind of chocolate. All you need to do is keep it from getting too warm—above 68°F. If you store it in the fridge, an airtight plastic bag is the way to go—just get as much air out as possible before you seal it. The slower you let chocolate come to room temperature, the lower the chance of condensation forming. I’d recommend wrapping the (already wrapped) chocolate in an insulating barrier (for instance a dish towel); this will disperse the cold from the chocolate more slowly, and minimize condensation.
As far as pralines go—it really depends on how they’re made. If they’re shelf-stable you can treat them the same way you’d treat solid chocolate: make sure it doesn’t melt, and put it in the fridge only if you need to.
When in doubt, ask the counter person at the store—they’ll know the individual chocolates the best, and have the best advice for storage and shelf life.
Signs of storage mistakes
- Fatbloom is a white powdery blooming that can be removed with your finger. It is caused by unstable cocoa butter crystals or by the fat from the filling who migrates to the surface. Storing chocolate at a stable temperature avoids this problem. Solid chocolate can still be used when re-melted and tempered. This is not the case for chocolates or pralines.
- Sugarbloom is a white exudation that can’t be removed with your finger. It is caused by humidity dissolving the sugar crystals in the chocolate. When the condense evaporates, coarse sugar crystals are left behind on the surface. It happens after a thermal shock when taking out of the fridge into a warm room. This chocolate cannot be fixed.
Written by: Hilde Van den Bossche, CEO