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Storing chocolate in a "Chocolate" Cooler
July 20, 2005
10:00 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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This is one recommendation about storing chocolate (it differs a bit from other recommendations I've seen):
[url="http://www.joyofbaking.com/ChoosingStoringChocolate.html"]Recommendation![/url] A wine cooler might work for storing chocolate but I think it can be improved. Humidity seems to be a bit high in a wine cooler. A manufacturer might be interest to create one if it's not too difficult. A local Swedish wine cooler distributer promised to check with a manufacturer if we can specify what's needed. So what do you think of the effort to create a chocolate cooler?

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
July 22, 2005
1:33 pm
chocoholic
Stockholm, Sweden
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June 15, 2005
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that sounds great Per. let me know when they could make it :)

July 22, 2005
4:50 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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Dear Masur, your link isn't working for some reason with me. V. curious what's there. I personally did not have problems storing my stock in the fridge - in fact, average temp there is 8 C, not too far from recomended. But I think there is a need for proper low humidity cooler for storing chocolate - just it shouldn't be overcomplicated and expensive. Wine coolers normally also try to solve a problem of any possible shakes and movements, aren't they? Which is not essential for chocolate :)

July 22, 2005
6:13 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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Sorry Ellie, the link is working now.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
July 22, 2005
10:38 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I would love to see a refrigerator made specifically for chocolate, but for now, a wine cooler is the best thing. I believe there are certain models that keep humidity at a minimum, but of course, opening and closing of the door is sure to create temperature fluctuations and humidity problems as well. However, if you wrap your chocolate in foil, the chances of negative effects might be reduced tremendously. Also, these said refrigerators cost several times more than the "normal" ones, with prices reaching up to $500 or so.

July 22, 2005
11:01 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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You can by a wine cooler made in China for a bit more than $1000 in Sweden. You must pay twice as much for a similar wine cooler made in Europe. You can buy both types from the same Italian brand. If the price is right I think there is a market for a chocolate cooler. €1500 might be too high but I think it will be a hit if the price is less than €1000. Maybe for storing vintage chocolate for a few years.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
July 23, 2005
3:54 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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$1,000 for a wine cooler is rather steep, but of course, it depends on how sophisticated it is. The more expensive models here can run up to $500, but these are coolers that have two separate sections for white and red wines and allow for appropriate (and digital) temperature control. More basic ones can go for as little as $75, but generally, on average, expect a price tag of $150.

July 24, 2005
12:42 am
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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Sounds too good.You guys should appreciate cost of living it easy in USA. May b you start with v. basic cooler, but here we have wine coolers which have a lot of care ( say so) of bottles, keep them in constant temp and not, god forbid, shaken in any way...

August 2, 2005
10:13 pm
cybele
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I've been using my husband's wine fridge.

However, when I first put my stuff in there in its regular packaging from the store, he noticed a distinctive chocolate smell when he opened it (it's a 250 bottle cooler).

So, I've now started wrapping mine tightly in plastic to keep the smells from contaminating his corks (I doubt this is really an issue, but more importantly, if my chocolate was smelling up the joint, it probably needed to be sealed better to keep longer).

What I think I want to do is get a sealed plastic box, like a flat shoe box or something that would fit easily on one of the shelves (yes, I get a whole shelf to myself!) to keep them in.

Does anyone think that I'd need to put something else in there to keep the moisture down? Silica gel, one of those chalk humidifier thigns that I used to keep my violin case or maybe just a plain charcoal briquette to cut down on odor transfer?

August 2, 2005
11:22 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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The odor shouldn't be a problem. Chocolate naturally has that strong smell, but what you could (and should) do is wrap each bar in foil (and put a label on it to dinstinguish each bar), then place them in plastic containers. Not only will this contain the heavenly aroma emanating from the chocolate, but also it will prevent condensation and extreme temperature changes to the chocolate upon opening and closing of the door. Place an open box of baking soda on the bottom shelf of the wine cooler for added odor absorption.

August 4, 2005
4:47 pm
seneca
USA
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Whatever method you choose, do beware condensation...Make sure that chocolate is tightly wrapped or you're likely to get some bloom :-(

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
August 4, 2005
5:23 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Yes, that is the purpose of wrapping in foil. It keeps moisture out and maintains temperature within its confines.

August 11, 2005
3:09 pm
le noir irlande
Ireland
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Are we talking about storing large amounts of chocolate for a relatively long time? Or do the comments in this thread apply to single bars which will only be kept for weeks/months and consumed within days once opened? I ask because on the few bars that suggest storage conditions, they specify storing at 12 - 16 degrees. And what about the sellers shelves - how long are they sitting in sometimes unsuitable conditions before you buy?

August 11, 2005
5:42 pm
seneca
USA
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I certainly wouldn't want any retailer or wholesaler to refrigerate chocolate in general--basic climate control is important, but you certainly don't want the temperature too low either. I think what we're talking about is for personal consumption...

As far as retailers go, how long the bars stay on the shelf probably depends on sale volume. And, of course, humidity and temperature conditions vary from one shop to another.

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
August 11, 2005
5:51 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Once a bar is opened, there is no need to consume it within days of its unwrapping. Basically, you can open a bar today and finish it six months from now. There is no process the chocolate undergoes before final packagaing; it's simply wrapped in foil. It's unlike a bag of potato chips or crackers, which usually has oxygen sucked out and other gases injected to preserve freshness.

I am referring to long-term and short-term chocolate storage. The methods described here and elsewhere will enable you to keep a bar of chocolate for years after purchase date and still maintain most of its "original" flavor integrity. Of course, it's probably better to consume the chocolate within a year, but storing it in these manners will allow you to keep it longer.

You have to be careful about where you purchase your chocolate too. Where is the chocolate located in the store? Is it by an entrance? Above the cheeses in the deli? Or isolated in a temperature controlled climate? You have to take things such as that into consideration, as well as the shop's reputation and reliability. The best-by, or expiration dates, are fairly arbitrary and are decided upon by the manufacturer. It's mainly for the retailer's use, so that he knows when to pull certain products and to rotate stock. Some higher end companies give their bars a shelflife of six months, while others two years. Marcolini, for example, gives approximately six months for his bars, while Cluizel allocates over one year. Chocolate can last for a long time past its expiration date too, so don't ever think you're eating "old" chocolate. I recently had some Domori that was 1.5 years past expiration, and it was still excellent. Same with Cluizel. And in fact, I have some bars two years past expiration I am waiting to taste in a year or so.

August 11, 2005
7:27 pm
Sebastian
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Why wouldn't you want the temperature to be too low? Freezing chocolate is a fantastic way of preserving it, as long as it's properly sealed and rewarmed. Frozen chocolate will keep for a very, very long time. The colder the better, in fact.

August 11, 2005
7:36 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Many chocolatiers will actually freeze their chocolates if they have to send it to faraway locations, such as overseas. La Maison does this, and I have found no signs of quality degradation in any of the confections.

August 12, 2005
2:14 am
seneca
USA
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Freezing might work well for chocolatiers, since they'll be tempering the chocolate prior to enrobing anyway, but freezing in general is definitely not a good idea with chocolate.

Whatever the wrapping method, condensation is a constant concern, and although chocolate is naturally low in water content, there is always some H2O present, and the crystallization will inevitably cause some fundamental changes.

With modern transportation logistics, freezing simply isn't necessary. Fresher is better...and perhaps that part of their supply chain is why I've never been as impressed with La Maison's confections at their NYC shop.

Back to the shelf-life question, I agree with Montegrano's post above that temperature control and cross-contamination (especially cheese!) are the leading factors to consider when shopping.

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
August 12, 2005
2:27 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Condensation is always a problem, but that's why foil is used to wrap the chocolate. It's the most effective way to maintain a relatively constant temperature within its barriers without water leaking through. Foil will not allow moisture to sneak in because its not a permeable substance, and furthermore, it reflects 95% of all radiant heat, which is why it never burns your skin.

August 12, 2005
10:20 am
le noir irlande
Ireland
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This is turning into an excellent and informative thread, and I can safely say most of my questions have been fully covered. It's great to have this kind of support and advice. Just one more thing, though, that does worry me. Why does some of the mostly mass produced chocolate sometimes develop what I would call a 'bloom' of light white staining on it's surface? Is this just age and deterioration, and does this happen with better quality chocolate?

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