Storing Chocolate in Summer’s Heat

kid with melted chocolate on hands and faceYou’ve loved chocolate your entire life but there is a pretty good chance that you have been storing it incorrectly, especially in the hot summer months. You wouldn’t want it to melt, especially before you get it in your mouth!

Be it gourmet chocolate, like Asher’s, or more mainstream brands, chocolate always has the same basic properties. These properties are what make it very sensitive to heat and humidity. Below are some of the most important facts about storing chocolate so you can always have the freshest flavor that you have paid for.

Store Chocolate at the Perfect Temperature

The ideal temperature for eating chocolate without getting sticky fingers is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it’s better stored slightly below room temperature. Keeping it cool can be difficult in summer months, which is why some people keep their chocolate in the refrigerator. This isn’t ideal, but is better than allowing it to get too warm. However, any home with air conditioning should usually be able to maintain this range of temperature.

Hide Your Chocolate in a Dark, Dry Place

Chocolate is ideally stored in the dark, away from moisture. Therefore, your pantry is a best bet, and consider closing it in a tin or smaller dark container if you’re going to be a true purist about your chocolate.

If you must store in the refrigerator, make sure it is in a container that will not accumulate moisture. Wrapped and tightly sealed in zipped bags will do quite well for this purpose. Refrigerators are very humid, causing chocolate to break down and the sugar to bloom. If this happens, the chocolate is better for cooking than for eating directly.

Keep Your Chocolate Fresh

Few people know this, but the shelf life for chocolate is a year. After that time, it begins to break down and will not be nearly as good or as fresh as a bar less than one year in age. This is especially true for purer types of chocolate that have fewer processing and preservatives. We don’t know many people who can hold onto chocolate for that long without nibbling away at it, but if that’s you, discard chocolate older than one year if you want the most optimal flavor.

Cold Chocolate is a Waste of Taste

If you have been keeping your chocolate in the fridge, make sure you allow it to warm up to room temperature before you eat it. It’s almost like letting a fine wine breathe. Cold chocolate won’t allow a rich and fulfilling flavor release as when it is warm. Chocolate that has been frozen should be placed in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before thawing it to room temperature.

Storing Filled Chocolates

For chocolate with filled and fruity centers, the best place for them is usually in the refrigerator. While you could theoretically keep them in a pantry that maintains a temperature above 65 and below 75 degrees, the other sugary elements within the sweets can affect the chocolate exterior. Maintain their best flavor by storing them in a sealed, air-free plastic container in the fridge. Assuming you don’t eat them immediately, of course!

Follow these basic guidelines on how to store your chocolate and you’ll always be able to eat it at its utmost best, as intended by the chocolatier who poured it!

Wondering how to ship chocolate? Check out our blog on how we protect your chocolate in the mail.