The most common question that we are asked as British manufacturers of delicious confectionery is “can I store my chocolate in the fridge?”
The question tends to cause a lot of light-hearted debate online, especially in the summer months when the temperatures are higher and people become concerned that their chocolate might melt. The quick answer to this question is: don’t store it in the fridge if you can possibly avoid it.
Why shouldn’t I store my chocolate in the fridge?
The main reason being that a damp and cold environment (found inside a fridge) can result in a sugar bloom once the chocolate is in a warmer atmosphere – this is when the sugars in the chocolate are attracted to the moisture on the surface of the bar so rises to the surface then dissolves. When the moisture evaporates you are left with the dusty appearance of the sugar crystals. Whilst it’s safe to eat, it’s unsightly and does affect your taste experience.
Chocolate is notorious at absorbing other flavours and odours and this is a common issue when stored in a fridge, where you keep onions, meats, fish and cheeses – your chocolate will take on these strong flavours. This can also occur when you store a strong flavoured chocolate bar e.g. a peppermint bar next to an unflavoured dark chocolate bar, in many cases you’d pick up a slight taste of mint in the dark chocolate bar when you came to open it. It is always advisable to keep strong flavours away from your chocolate.
Where should I store my chocolate?
Our recommendation is to store your chocolates in a dry, dark cupboard ideally at temperatures no higher than 18C . If you can, put them in an airtight container to protect them from other odours and flavours. When you enjoy your chocolate at room temperature you’ll experience the full release of the flavours when they melt in your mouth – which has got to be the main reason we enjoy eating chocolate!
Prolonged periods of exposure to light can also affect your chocolate – consider a chocolate bar in a clear cellophane wrap, exposed to the light. Much like sugar bloom, there is another scientific reaction which can take place when chocolate is exposed to sunlight or fluorescent light called photooxidation which can cause an unpleasant flavour to develop – the same as can occur in butter, milk cheeses and other foods. The colour of the chocolate also changes under these circumstances as in the image below.
What do I do if even my cupboards are too warm?
If it is sizzling weather out there and you are finding that your house is warming up above room temperature, then we’d recommend putting your chocolate in the coolest spot in the house – chocolate doesn’t respond well to changes in temperature, so if you have a North facing room, generally it will be the coolest room in which to store your chocolate. Fat bloom is similar in nature to sugar bloom but is when the cocoa butter warms up and begins to melt, separating from the cocoa solids. As it begins to set again (solidify) it works its way to the surface of the chocolate, leaving unsightly greyish streaks, or white blotches. So consistent cool temperatures are necessary to prevent this happening.
If it’s just too hot though and you have no other option than to put your chocolate in the fridge, at the very least put it in an airtight container to prevent the transference of odours and strong flavours and of course, make sure you eat it quickly (we’ve just given you the perfect excuse!).
Now that you know how to store your chocolate in the warmer months, you might be interested to know which chocolates we’d recommend that you tuck into because we know they won’t be hanging around long enough to melt! Why don’t you tantalise your tastebuds with these refreshing flavoured bars?