Okay, admittedly, this isn’t a question we at Sappho Chocolates get a lot, but it does come up from time to time. For most of us, the chocolates don’t last long enough to worry about how to store them, but for those people who ration out their chocolates or save them for a rainy day, here are our recommendations for storing your chocolates for the long haul.
1) The fresher chocolate is the better it tastes. Sort of a no brainer, but it bears repeating. If you have ever gotten old chocolate you know it just tastes funny and the mouthfeel can be weird as well. So always buy the freshest chocolate available and in amounts that you will eat sooner as opposed to later.
2) Keep your chocolates cool (65-70 degrees F) and in low humidity (50% or less). If you can control temperature and humidity, dark chocolate will keep for 12 months; milk and white should be consumed within 6 months. If you are enjoying handmade artisanal chocolates it is always recommended you check with the chocolatier, so they can tell you exactly how long your chocolates will maintain their peak taste.
3) Keep your chocolate away from light and air. Chocolate oxidizes when exposed to artificial and natural light, as well as air, and can develop undesirable flavors. Dark chocolate is more resistant to oxidation because of its higher cacao content. Because white and milk chocolate have higher dairy content they are more susceptible to oxidation and changes in flavor. The take home message: wrap your chocolate tightly and store in an airtight container away from light.
4) Cocoa butter (commonly found in superior chocolates) absorbs surrounding scents easily, so never store your chocolate near things like onions, baking extracts, or other strong-smelling items. Unless you like onion flavored chocolate, in which case, drop us a note. As a rule, storing chocolate in your refrigerator or freezer is not recommended as it can change the texture or flavor of your chocolate, but there are exceptions:
a. If you don’t have a cool low-humidity place to store your chocolate, then put them in the refrigerator, preferably in a crisper drawer that is humidity controlled and not next to the onions or other smelly things. As before, make sure the chocolate is wrapped tightly and in an airtight container. This will protect it not only from picking up odors but also protect it from condensation. When you remove it from the refrigerator make sure to allow the chocolate to come back up to room temperature before unwrapping it.
b. Let’s say a dear friend brought you back beautiful truffles from Europe, but there are more than you can possibly consume in the near future (and you don’t feel like sharing) you can follow the refrigeration method outlined above. If you need to store them even longer you can transfer them to the freezer after 24 hours in the refrigerator. Doing this in steps is critical to preserving the texture of the chocolate. When it comes time to remove the chocolate from the freezer, transfer the chocolates to the refrigerator for 24 hours before bringing them up to room temperature.
Now that you are armed with the care of chocolate, go out and buy some lovely expensive truffles, bonbons or bars and enjoy your stash of amazing chocolate!