I’m sure there will be some of you who have no need to worry about storing your chocolates, as the temptation is so great that they barely last the journey home! However, let’s say you’re super organised and bought someone a lovely gift of a box of chocolates, and their birthday isn’t for a few weeks. How do you ensure that the chocs reach them in perfect condition, especially while the weather is fluctuating between roasting hot and humid, and cool and damp?
Here are our top tips:
- Don’t put chocolate in the fridge! Chocolate soaks up smells and absorbs odours of whatever is around it. In a fridge, that could be some rather ripe cheese, the leftover curry from last night, or some strong smelling charcutier meets filled with herbs and spices. In addition, fridges are full of condensed moisture, which can make the chocolate bloom. This means that the sugars in the chocolate rises to the surface and turns the chocolate a white, dusty colour. While the chocolate will still taste great, it will make your gift look terrible!
- Instead of the fridge, find a cool, dry and dark place for your chocolate to happily live. A pantry cupboard is ideal, but away from strong smells, radiators, cookers and boilers. When chocolate is stored at a consistent temperature below 21C (ideally between 18C and 20C), and at a humidity of lower than 55%, the emulsion of cocoa solids and cocoa butter will stay stable for months, even years.
- It’s also a really good idea to store chocolate in a clean, dry air-tight container, as it will not only help stop odours affecting the chocolate, but will help slow down oxygen from causing the chocolate to deteriorate over time.
- Keep chocolate away from light – both sunlight and artificial light. These will cause the chocolate to discolour and change flavour over time.
- If you haven’t got anywhere suitably cool to store your chocolate and your only option is the fridge, then, before you put your chocolate in there, wrap it tightly in cling film to protect it against smells and condensation, then seal it in an airtight container. When you take it out of the fridge, let it get back up to room temperature before unwrapping.
- You can in fact freeze chocolate, however you need to put them in the fridge first for 24 hours (follow the instructions above), then pop in the freezer. Before you want to enjoy the chocolate, follow the reverse instructions by putting the chocolate back in the fridge for 24 hours to allow a steady temperature change and avoid temperature shock, then after that allow the chocolate to rise back up to room temperature again before unwrapping and enjoying.