Originally posted by Eshra
I live in Michigan and have my Chocolate shipped from Oregon (Chocosphere). Shipment during the summer simply is not possible. The cold packs can neither stay cold enough or long enough to be of any use.
Best thing is to stock up before the winter.
Well, like most things, virtually anything is possible if you’re willing to spend the money. It’s all a matter of cost. Chocosphere has insulated Styrofoam boxes with ice packs, and that’s decent, but if you want to go bananas you can do better. One level up is the box-within-a-box. Get your inner box (insulated Styro is one reasonable choice), ice pack that, then put that box in a bigger box filled with Styrofoam “s”‘s. The inner box should be in the centre, so that it’s “floating” in the bigger box and no sides are touching the wall of the outer box.
After that you can also wrap boxes (e.g. the inner box) in foil. This prevents radiative heat transfer..
Upping the ante a bit, for better insulation instead of Styrofoam you can use wool. A box wrapped in something like a wool blanket within a box is really pretty effective at insulation.
You can also get small portable ice chests (these really are small, perhaps 20cm on a side) – these offer vastly improved insulation. Seattle Caviar for example uses them to ship caviar in. However as you may have guessed by now it starts to look expensive.
Finally, of course, if you are prepared for the cost you can have the chocolate sent by refrigerated truck, however, this also puts it outside the realm of the post as well and into the realm of freight handling. It also doesn’t prevent the chocolate from melting on arrival, especially if no one is there to receive the shipment (which tends to cause additional complications since shippers expect someone there to receive delivery whenever they decide to show up)
Back to reality, the key thing about using ice packs is proper insulation. Ice packs are useless if put in an uninsulated box but with very thorough insulation (such as box-within-box, foil-wrapped, wool-insulated) they can survive for 2 or 3 days. I’ve successfully transported meat this way, and managed to have it stay at fridge temperature or lower for 2 days, inside a car, in weather that was about 30C/88F. This makes, e.g. transcontinental shipment in the USA within reach provided you ship with 2 day shipping rather than surface transport.
The economics of this really make it practical only for larger shipments, i.e. it makes little sense to spend more than the chocolate itself in order to ship it.