A lot of customers who come to us at True & 12 and buy a bar of TRULY Craft Chocolate, will see them tucked neatly in the back of the shop in a small wine fridge will ask us how to store their chocolate best at home.
It’s actually a great question! It may seem obvious, but here are a few things that you might not know –
Chocolate is very sensitive to odours and will soak them up like a sponge. This is why you never want to store your chocolate in a fridge full of garlic, salami or cheese, for example. You also wouldn’t want to store your chocolate in a cigar box (although that could get some interesting tasting notes) or a plastic Tupperware that smells of plastic! Chocolate is delicate and will start to taste like anything you store it in or near! This is a fact about chocolate that I never knew until I starting tasting a lot of chocolate bars and making them myself. (Having spent my childhood in Australia, we blasphemously stored our chocolate in the fridge to prevent it from melting. And now I know why it always tasted like salami)
The best way to store your chocolate is in a cool, dark and dry place. Like the back of a cabinet that isn’t standing in the sunniest corner of your apartment or right above your oven. Your basement is also a good place as long as it's not too damp. Have a wine fridge? anything between 14 and 16 degrees would be perfect!
The ideal temperature range to store chocolate is between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius. The best flavours release at room temperature!
Most of us have had some kind of chocolate bar melt on us at least once in a lifetime. When the chocolate cooled down and re-solidified, you may have noticed white streaks or circles. This is affectionately referred to as: BLOOM. When chocolate is exposed to too great of a temperature difference and loses its temper (no pun intended), the particles with separate, and you will see a whitish coating on your bars.
BLOOM can happen when either the natural fat or cocoa butter separates (fat bloom) or the sugar crystals are affected by moisture (sugar bloom). Either way, your chocolate will actually be fine to eat. Bloom generally does not affect the taste, but it will affect the consistency (it may turn brittle and crumbly), and mouth-feel (it won't “taste” smooth).
Now... did you know that when chocolate gets too cold, condensation will form which could cause sugar bloom? The sugar absorbs the water from the condensation, which eventually evaporates but then re-crystallizes on the surface of the bar. The chocolate will still be fine to eat, it just will not look as pretty. Proof that: it’s what’s on the inside that counts 😊 and yet another vote against storing chocolate in a fridge or freezer!
We store our chocolate in a wine fridge at True & 12 simply because our little shop gets VERY hot in the summer time and very cold in the winter time! We have no windows, no air flow, a lot of people in a tiny space, and no stable temperatures.
Chocolate likes consistency. Any big change in temperature can be harmful. Hence, we set our wine fridge to a stable and consistent 14 degrees Celsius.
We put a lot of work into our little bars!
From sourcing the beans, to hand sorting them, roasting, cracking, winnowing, stone grinding, conching, aging and finally hand wrapping in gold foil and then meticulously lining up the stickers on the front and back of the packaging (a job more complicated that it sounds, if nothing else, a great test of patience) Pffew... SO really it would be a shame if you bought a bar of our fine craft chocolate and it melted on your way home, or started tasting of Brie and salami in the back of your fridge!
Pro tip: life is short. Enjoy the chocolate!