How to Store Chocolate in Hot Weather
Chocolate tastes better when it’s been stored at room temperature (between 12 – 20 degrees Celsius). And ideally, you should never store chocolate in the fridge because it could ruin the flavour and lead to reactions.
But in Australia, our summer’s are hot, very hot! South Australia peaked at a record 46.6C in December 2019 and not everyone has air conditioning. While dark chocolate tolerates the heat much better than milk or white chocolate if you leave your chocolate in your car (or house with no air-con) on a hot summers day, it will quickly turn into a sticky liquid mess. So you need a way to store chocolate in hot weather.
Chocolate losses its temper
When a chocolate bar has melted and hardened back up again (when brought into a cooler place) the bar has lost its “temper”, which is that shiny look and firm snap you hear when you break off a piece. And when chocolate loses its temper, it has a softer crumblier texture and may be covered with white streaks of cocoa butter.
These streaks mean the chocolate has bloomed… it’s still edible, but it just doesn’t look very nice. It’s the cocoa butter in chocolate (the natural fat of the bean), that melts just below our body temperature, 33 – 34 degrees Celsius.
Chocolate prefers to be kept in a cool dark place with a max of 26 degrees Celsius (before it losses it’s temper). So if your cupboard is just too hot in summer and storing it in the fridge is your only option (to avoid a melted mess), you need a plan of action to store chocolate in hot weather. Because storing chocolate in a fridge comes with its own risks…
Storing chocolate in a fridge
Chocolate doesn’t like extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold)! Whereas hot temperatures turn your chocolate into a sloppy liquid, cold temperatures can be just as damaging robbing your craft chocolate of all the beautiful aromas and flavours chocolate makers worked so hard to bring out.
So if you have to store it in the fridge don’t just throw your bar in the fridge and hope for the best. Make sure to pack your chocolate in an airtight plastic or Tupperware container to protect it from moisture and other odours. You need it airtight to stop oxygen from oxidizing the chocolate, causing less-than-ideal flavours to develop. And if possible, place it in the door, as this is the warmest place in the fridge.
It’s the cocoa butter in chocolate that can absorb the smell of other foods stored in the fridge at the time (Camembert cheese, lamb curry, garlic… you get the idea) and a fridge can also trigger sugar crystallisation due to the moist environment.
But packaged up airtight like this your chocolates can stay edible anywhere from three to six months (or two seasons giving you time enough for an Australian scorcher of summer to ease into autumn).
Decanting your chocolate
Think of your craft (bean-to-bar) chocolate like an expensive red wine, take it out with plenty of time before you want to enjoy it e.g. like when you decant an expensive red allowing it to breathe first. You always want to eat your chocolate at room temperature, for maximum enjoyment!
So make an experience of it, when you’re ready to treat yourself take the sealed box of chocolate out of the fridge an hour beforehand, that way it reaches the perfect room temperature and prevents condensation forming on the chocolate.
Then once it’s reached room temperature, unwrap your chocolate, breaking off a piece, let it slowly melt on your tongue, allowing the flavours to wash over your taste buds. DELICIOUS – and worth the wait!
So there you have it our tips on how to successfully store your chocolate in the fridge during hot summer weather. And if you have any specific questions about how to store chocolate in hot weather drop us a line!
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