There’s no sugarcoating it. Chocolate is delicious, but it’s often difficult to keep it that way — especially when warmer months roll around. As temperatures rise, chocolate is greatly affected in terms of flavor, structure, and consistency. Now is the time to learn the best methods for chocolate storage.
How Does Heat Affect Chocolate?
It goes without saying that chocolate will melt when the temperature gets high enough. To be more precise, it will begin to soften at about 85°F and melt completely by 93°F.
While you can let chocolate harden again in a cool place, it will lose what is known as its temper, or the shiny appearance and satisfying snap it is beloved for. The texture will become significantly softer, and the chocolate may undergo a fat bloom. This occurs when the cocoa fat within the treat rises to the surface, where it becomes visible as whitish spots.
But don’t panic if this happens! The chocolate is still completely safe to consume. Just try your best to keep the sweets below their softening point and store them accordingly (more on that later).
Shipping Your Chocolate
When it comes to shipping chocolate, there are some differences between milk and dark varieties. Namely, that milk chocolate tends to spoil more easily than its counterpart. If you’re up in the air over which variety to choose, dark is surely the safer bet for shipping long distances.
You’ll also want to check out the shipping policies for the candy. Some carriers will only ship during certain timeframes to avoid compromised product, or they might offer priority shipping to ensure a speedy delivery. Ideally, you’ll be there to accept the chocolate in person; even an hour or two could lead to a breakdown in texture. If not, write a note for the driver or postal worker to leave the package in the shade.
Here at Stefanelli’s, we take pride in what we create, and we want you to experience our chocolate in its purest state.
We offer ice packs for warmer transport, which we highly recommend if you’re ordering any of our chocolate or gummy collections. Our Express Service is available as well, which is suggested for temperatures exceeding 65°F.
Tips for Storing Chocolate
The question remains: what’s the best way to store chocolate? Luckily, there are many ways to literally beat the heat. Storing your chocolate correctly will result in optimal taste and texture the next time you get a craving.
In a Refrigerator
With summer drawing near, your first thought might’ve been to put your chocolate in the fridge. You can indeed go with this option, but if you do, always store your treats in airtight containers. This method will keep out moisture. The last thing you want is for your chocolate to oxidize, which will greatly influence flavor in a less-than-preferred way.
Be aware that storing chocolate in the fridge comes with its setbacks. First and foremost, chocolate tends to absorb the scents of other foods nearby. This is especially true of things like fish, cheese, and onion. When you finally go to eat your chocolate again, there is a chance it might have the lingering taste of its neighbors.
Another problem is the threat of sugar bloom. After chocolate is removed from the fridge, it will slowly begin to warm up. As it does, the sugar inside will be attracted to the moisture forming on the candy and subsequently dissolve. The sugar crystals leftover from this process will leave your chocolate with a white, somewhat dusty look. Though safe for consumption, the texture and flavor will be altered.
Can You Freeze Chocolate?
Storing chocolate in the freezer can extend its shelf life an extra few months. Simple place the original box in a quality freezer bag and make sure the seal is tight. Similar to fridge storage, you must keep in mind that the taste may be influenced to a certain extent.
The texture may be a bit brittle, but the chocolate will still be safe to eat. To get the best flavor, thaw in the fridge or leave it out until it reaches room temperature.
Be Aware of Shelf Life
If kept under the right conditions, most chocolate will keep up to six months (though this timeline does vary by chocolate type and ingredients). Know that dark chocolate will likely retain its freshness for longer periods, mostly due to the absence of milk.
However, the composition of all chocolate varieties will begin to break down in flavor after enough time passes. Though you can’t stop time from moving forward, you do have a say in where and how your chocolate is kept.
Consume at Room Temperature
If you’ve been storing chocolate in a colder environment (i.e., the fridge), you should always let it rest until it reaches room temperature. Think of it as similar to letting a fine wine breathe; chocolate’s properties don’t allow for a full, rich flavor when cold. For chocolate stored in the freezer, move it to the fridge for a few hours before completely thawing.
Despite complications with fridge storage, this is the best place for chocolate with a filling or fruity center. Keeping these sweets in a pantry might not work in this case, because the other sugars might affect the outside layers. To get the best flavor possible, store all your specialty chocolate in an air-tight container before moving them to the fridge.
Store in Cool, Dry Places
The most effective storage method is somewhere dark and dry, away from any potential moisture sources. Utilize your pantry for this, storing the chocolate in a tin or similar container. The ideal temperature for chocolate is somewhere between 59°F and 64°F, with humidity being no higher than 55%. When kept like this, the chocolate will retain its flavor and structure for a few months.
Keep it Fresh with Stefanelli's!
We make our chocolate in small, handcrafted batches for the ultimate confectionary experience. Browse our chocolate collections today to find your perfect match!