We think the best place to store chocolate is in your mouth! But seriously, our team at Cococo/Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut gets asked this question a lot so we’ve put together this article to help you keep your chocolates tasting their best.
The Triple threats to chocolate
There are three things that can cause chocolates to not look or taste their best. The triple threats to chocolate are heat, humidity, and odour. Too much warmth is bad (the chocolate softens or melts) as is too much cold (moisture can condense on the chocolate as it warms up). And the cocoa butter in chocolate can suck up smells like a sponge.
The difference between solid chocolate and filled chocolates
Solid chocolate (like chocolate bars or molded items) is the most stable kind of chocolate. Solid chocolate can keep well at 65-70°F (18-21C), away from direct sunlight, and protected from moisture. But artisanal filled chocolates (bonbons) with creamy centres made with fresh cream and dairy can have a much shorter shelf life and need to be treated differently to keep them fresh. If you're not going to eat them right away, we recommend storing your chocolates in the fridge in a sealed container or bag to keep them at their best.
What is Chocolate Bloom?
Storing chocolate in the fridge or freezer will keep the heat from melting your chocolate, but it’s important not to rush the process of either cooling the chocolate down or warming it up. If you don’t, you run the risk of “chocolate bloom”. Chocolate bloom is when chocolate looks scuffed, streaky, or has mottled whitish marks on the surface. Chocolate bloom is one of two types: fat bloom, caused by changes in the fat crystals in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, due to crystals formed by the action of moisture on the sugar. Chocolate that has "bloomed" is still safe to eat, though it might look a bit odd. Go ahead and enjoy it! Read more about Chocolate Bloom.
The Guidelines for storing chocolates
Cococo does not use artificial preservatives in any of our products, so you need to either enjoy them or store them carefully. Keep these general guidelines in mind when freezing or refrigerating your favourite Cococo chocolates:
- Solid chocolate is very stable. The shelf life of most solid milk chocolate and solid dark chocolate is a year or more; store in a sealed bag in a cool place like a pantry. You can freeze solid chocolate for future in use in baking.
- Cococo uses fresh cream and dairy in many of our filled chocolates. We recommend our bonbons be stored in a cool dry location — the refrigerator is best — just like cream or dairy would be stored.
- When refrigerating or freezing chocolate, make sure to sealed it in an airtight container or bag. Refrigerators are very humid, so to avoid the development of sugar bloom, it’s also a good idea to include an paper towel or even a kitchen cloth in the bag to absorb any extra moisture.
- Always thaw frozen chocolate slowly - overnight in the refrigerator is best. If chocolate goes straight from the freezer to room temperature, condensation will form and alter the appearance and texture, leading to fat bloom.
- Remove only as many servings of chocolate as you need from the freezer. Thaw them, wrapped, slowly in the fridge for at least eight to twelve hours or preferably overnight. This slow thaw will help prevent chocolate bloom.
- Allow chilled chocolate to come to room temperature at least 20 minutes before enjoying it. Cold chocolate doesn't melt or disperse flavour in the mouth as nicely as chocolate that is at room temperature.