How do I know if my chocolate is expired?

Overall, to know if your chocolate is expired, of course check the expiration date on the packaging. Arriving on the said date, the chocolate may have lost its taste. Visually, the chocolate discolors, revealing slight white spots on the top, traces of humidity or even mold. At the slightest unusual appearance or strange smell, avoid consuming chocolate.

Shelf life of chocolate

The shelf life of chocolate depends on how it is stored but also on its type. While dark chocolate can be stored for up to 2 years at room temperature and in a dry place, milk and white chocolate can only be stored for between 6 months and 1 year.

Dark, white or milk: chocolates do not have the same shelf life

Why this difference? Quite simply because in milk and white chocolate, there is milk and butter. A higher fat content than in dark chocolate (usually made from roasted cocoa bean and cocoa butter), which makes these chocolates more sensitive to heat. With temperature variations, the process of deterioration of chocolate is accelerated.

Why does chocolate last for a long time?

Thanks to its low water content, chocolate is less conducive to the proliferation of bacteria, which, as we recall, develop particularly in humid environments. Another factor is involved in the long storage of chocolate: the process of emulsification of cocoa fats and solids. When making chocolate, this step “stabilizes” the texture, thus preventing any separation of the components in the future. Over time, the main thing chocolate loses is its quality, especially if it is stored in poor conditions.

Store chocolate properly

The key to good storage of chocolate and preserving its quality is to avoid temperature variations. By keeping it away from any contact with heat (which would melt it) or humidity (which would attract bacteria), the chocolate should be stored in a dry, dark place (light discolors and alters the flavor of the chocolate), at room temperature, between 15 and 18°C. The ideal place to meet these conditions? The kitchen cupboard, away from the oven or machines. Also, something you might not think about: keep it away from smells. The chocolate easily absorbs surrounding odors (open box of tea, opened bread, etc.)

The refrigerator: the safe option, but not without consequences

By wrapping it carefully to prevent the chocolate from absorbing surrounding odors, it is entirely possible to store the chocolate in the refrigerator. Another preservation method which however reduces the flavors of the chocolate. When in contact with the cold, the taste is less felt on the palate and the texture of the chocolate is even crunchier. Take out of the refrigerator a few minutes before eating so that it regains its flavors and above all: do not put it back in the cold. It is best to consume it immediately to avoid further temperature variation.

Do not cool melted chocolate

Just as you don't put thawed food back in the freezer, you don't cool melted chocolate. On contact with heat, chocolate becomes a favorable environment for the proliferation of bacteria. Once it becomes damp, by cooling it, you risk locking in potential bacteria and obtaining chocolate that is unfit for consumption.

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