If you can’t enjoy all of chocolates right away, here are some helpful storage hints to ensure they maintain their great taste:
- Store chocolate at room temperature and you can keep them up to 3 weeks. But make sure the temperature does not exceed 20 degrees C or 70 degrees F.
- Normal refrigeration will hold chocolates at their peak for up to 3 months.
- Frozen chocolates will maintain their goodness for up to 6 months.
- Solid chocolate pieces will last longer than pieces with nuts or soft centres.
If you are storing chocolates longer than 3 weeks or if temperatures will exceed 20 degrees Celsius, take the following steps to prevent “blooming” - when the cocoa butter separates from the cocoa, and shows up as a white film on the surface of the chocolate:
- Place chocolate boxes in a plastic bag (polyethylene is best), with no holes. Seal the bag tightly with a knot or twist tie.
- Place in a refrigerator or freezer.
- Sealed packages of chocolate such as chocolate bars may be placed directly in the refrigerator or freezer without additional wrap or bags.
When you’re ready to enjoy your chocolates, do the following:
- Remove the chocolates, still wrapped, from the freezer or refrigerator.
- Leave the plastic bag or wrapper on, and allow the package to return to room temperature. This usually takes 3 hours from the freezer. If it was stored in a refrigerator, the chocolate will only take one hour to reach room temperature.
- Once the appropriate time has elapsed, the chocolate is ready to eat.
- Chocolates that are removed from the wrappers before the recommended time are subject to blooming.
- Blooming occurs when condensation forms on the chocolate itself, rather then the moisture barrier (the plastic bag or wrapper).
- Bloomed chocolate will have lost its shine and be dull and whitish in appearance.
- Bloomed chocolate is not harmful to consume, but the general texture and appearance is not as appealing.