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janbb's avatar

Should I refrigerate fine chocolates in the summer?

Asked by janbb (44249 points ) June 26th, 2014

Treated myself to a box of Godiva as an indulgence last night. My plan is not to eat them all at once. It is humid today and they are a little soft. If I refrigerate (or even freeze) them and then let a piece come to room temperature before eating, will it affect the quality of the chocolate?

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20 Answers

hominid's avatar

I found this article, which describes how to cool (and then warm up) chocolate properly. See the section on “five simple steps”. And make sure to let us know if/how it works.

janbb's avatar

Thanks! Sounds like a lot of work – may just have to eat the chocolate faster!

longgone's avatar

Have you sent this question to @thorninmud?

janbb's avatar

@longgone I did indeed. He is my chocolate, baking and Buddhism guru.

hominid's avatar

@janbb: “may just have to eat the chocolate faster”

That’s the right thing to do.

janbb's avatar

@hominid According to your link, it’s the European way to do it, so it must be right.

longgone's avatar

@janbb Rightly so.

CWOTUS's avatar

I freeze it, and eat it (let it melt in my mouth) right out of the freezer. And wonder sometimes why I don’t do it this way all the time.

longgone's avatar

^ Oh…that sounds good. Never tried it, but I just stuck a chocolate bar into the freezer.

JLeslie's avatar

I personally would put them in the fridge if they are soft. I have a girlfriend who was a taste tester for Godiva years ago, and she used to tell me how she had a fridge full of chocolates. LOL. I keep my house around 77–78 degrees in the summer, so it is kind of warm for chocolate. I don’t know if Godiva has preservatives? If not I would be even more likely to keep it cold.

If you have a wine fridge in the house that might be a great place for chocolates, because it would not be as cold as a regular fridge. You can buy small portable wine refrigerators which you might consider for items you need to keep cool not cold. Mine came in very handy when I had to take a medication that needed a moderate temperature.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I recommend only buying as much as you can eat before they melt. Sorry @janbb, it’s Godiva for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for you!

janbb's avatar

@dappled_leaves I think you speak wisely, my friend. Luckily, you don’t get that much for $36.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I buy good chocolate and always keep it in the fridge. But let’s see what t says.

thorninmud's avatar

I read the advice in the article @hominid linked to and found it generally good, with one exception which I’ll get to in a bit.

The fridge will, as he says, greatly extend the life of the chocolates, and freezing puts it in virtual suspended animation. The great danger of chilling chocolate is that if it’s not done carefully you will get some condensation on the surface. This mostly a cosmetic problem, though in severe cases it will degrade the texture.

Technically speaking, humidity isn’t a problem; condensation is. You get condensation anytime a cool surface is exposed to humid air. The more humid the air, the less cool a surface needs to be to provoke condensation.

So even slightly chilled chocolate exposed to humid room air will get a fine deposit of condensation—enough to spoil its appearance. This guy is right on target about how to prepare chocolate for chilling, though the paper towel is unnecessary provided that enough air is removed from the package. In fact, the main flaw in his process is the step of opening the package that’s already been chilling for an hour in order to remove the paper towel; at that point, you’re allowing new humid room air into the bag where it will contact the now-cool chocolate surfaces. You’re causing the very problem you’re trying to prevent. Skip the paper towel.

So the important things are simple: the packaging must be air-tight and include as little air as possible. Arrange the pieces close together on a piece of cardboard, put them in a freezer zip-lock bag, zip the bag most of the way and (while no one’s looking) use your lungs to suck out as much air as you can through the opening and quickly seal the bag. He talks about chilling the package slowly, which is also unnecessary; all of the condensation danger lies on the other end of the process: at the unpacking stage. The really critical thing is not to open the package at all until the chocolate inside has had time to come back up to very near room temperature. Sitting out overnight on a counter is about what it takes.

One last thing: the temperature of the chocolate at the time of eating makes a big difference in “mouth feel”. This is especially true of ganache fillings (a cold ganache loses all of its textural charm). Even solid chocolate, if it’s cold, just sits there like a wooden lump in your mouth waiting for your body heat to overcome the chill before it will begin to release its flavor. Ideally, chocolate should be eaten at around the same temperatures that you yourself find most comfortable.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@thorninmud Holy shit, you are a guru.

rojo's avatar

I would suggest eating more of it in a shorter timespan.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I keep my chocolate in the basement since it is always cool down there. They last much longer – although I am not sure if that’s due to the temperature or the fact that I have to go down a flight of stains to get them.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

If you do freeze your chocolate, I would advise you to wrap individually so you don’t have to thaw out the whole batch for a few bites and then refreeze again the remainder.

You are doing very well indeed not to have finished the whole batch in one sitting!

janbb's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Thanks – It takes fortitude!

@LuckyGuy When I buy a box of pecan delights, I put them in the freezer in the basement so I only eat one at a time. But since I don’t have a wine fridge, the basement is a “cool” idea.

Actually, I am finding these Godivas – which I used to love – very sweet and too rich to eat by the handful.

janbb's avatar

@thorninmud your advice is very clear except for one thing: It makes it sound like I cannot take the pieces out one at a time? That would defeat the point of chilling them.

At the moment, it seems like the air conditioning and my impetuousness are coping with the problem but I will take the other suggestions under advisement.

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