CHICAGO—Giving chocolate to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day is a time-honored tradition. However, what you don’t want is to give chocolate that has a chalky white film on the surface, known as “fat bloom.” Not only does this make chocolate less visually appealing, it affects the texture and taste for your sweetheart.
“Fat bloom happens when fat migrates to the surface of chocolate as a result of storing it at high temperatures or exposing it to extreme fluctuations in temperature,” explained Nicki Engeseth, PhD, member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and lead researcher of a Journal of Food Science study that investigated optimal chocolate storage.
There are precautions you can take right after buying the chocolate and when storing it over an extended period of time. Dr. Engeseth recommends the following tips to help keep chocolate looking and tasting its best both before and after Valentine’s Day:
- Purchase high-quality chocolate.
- Refrain from storing chocolate in your cold or hot car after purchase.
- Keep chocolate at a constant temperature, close to room temperature (68—74 degrees Fahrenheit) or slightly cooler.
- Do not refrigerate or freeze chocolate.
“Even though chocolate has a long shelf life and is safe to eat, it may not taste the same or have the same creamy texture and texture if stored improperly,” added Dr. Engeseth.
Read the Journal of Food Science study on the Impact of Storage on Dark Chocolate: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01970.x/abstract
For more consumer food tips, visit www.iftfoodfacts.org