Are You Storing Your Chocolate to Keep it at its Best?

With chocolate, storage is everything

You know when you buy chocolate bars and they have that disgusting white film covering them? You might have chalked it up to a poor quality of chocolate, but the fact is that improper storage is a more likely culprit. Chocolate is an extremely delicate substance. If you want it to last as long as possible -- and still taste great when you get to it -- you have to store it properly.

What Can Happen?

There are two major visible problems with improperly stored chocolate, and a whole host of things that happen beneath the surface. The two most noticeable affects? Fatbloom and sugarbloom.

Fatbloom: The very name is unappetizing, making you picture yourself expanding like a balloon. Fatbloom is in fact the very white film we mentioned earlier. Fatbloom is exactly what it sounds like: a layer of fat that covers the chocolate, either because the chocolate's natural fat content recrystallized or because it migrated (yes, like a bird). Yum yum.

Sugarbloom: This sounds a bit nicer, at least -- like a pretty flower or delicate plant. But sugarbloom is actually pretty ugly. This happens when you take chocolate out of the refrigerator and let it sit. Water condenses on the surface and dissolves the chocolate, then evaporates, leaving crystallized sugar chunks behind.

And there's more! Improperly stored chocolate can decay, lose its taste, and take on the taste of surrounding odors. Yuck!

Keeping it Fresh

Chocolate has a number of sensitivities, including temperature, air, light, and moisture. For these reasons, it's best to store chocolate in a vacuum (no, not your vacuum cleaner). Since that's probably unavailable, keep your chocolate treats in a dry, odor-free area with good circulation.

To avoid sugarbloom, which we discussed above, you don't want to store your chocolate in the refrigerator, either. Of course, you also don't want to store it above the oven -- we all know what happens then. Your best bet is to store your chocolate someplace cool but not cold.

You'll also want to remember how long you've had those Hershey's Kisses tucked away in the cupboard. Filled chocolates are only good for about a month, while pure chocolate -- if stored properly -- can last for almost a year. That chocolate Santa from two years ago, though? Probably not quite as tasty as it could be.

So store your chocolate properly and treat yourself to the full taste sensation.