While most of the nation tends to celebrate the arrival of hot summer weather with its soaring temperatures and balmy evenings, for those who work with chocolate it can create a feeling of dread. |
No one wants melting chocolate which has lost its form, so storing chocolate during the warm summer months can be quite a challenge for those who need to keep their chocolate supplies in perfect condition.
The Effect of Heat
We all know that in warm weather the delicate texture of chocolate transforms from a soft, sumptuous solid into a runny, liquid mess – but that’s not the only problem. If you are storing or selling chocolate supplies, problems can occur even if you never let the chocolate reach its liquid state.
The constant warming and cooling of chocolate during the summer months – that is, the heat during the day and the relative coolness at night – can cause the chocolate to go ‘out of temper’.
Tempering is what keeps the cocoa fats in chocolate from separating when the chocolate is made, giving the chocolate its slightly brittle, snap-able quality. But when chocolate is warmed and cooled repeatedly, this tempering process is reversed and the fats begin to separate, leaving your chocolate waxy in texture and greyish in colour.
That is why it is very important to store chocolate properly during warm spells, to ensure that your chocolate remains tempered, delicious and, ultimately, sellable.
Like most perishable products the best advice is to keep chocolate in a dry, dark place. You may want to put it on display, but during hot weather, this could prove ruinous to the product.
While you might be tempted to keep your chocolate supplies out of the heat of the day by storing it in the fridge, I’m afraid this can be just as bad for your inventory as the sun.
The humidity in a fridge can cause sugar and fat blooms to develop, ruining your chocolate’s appearance. It is the moisture in the fridge which causes the problem, so if you have no other cool, dark storage spaces at your disposal, then you can wrap the items tightly in cling film or plastic to keep the moisture out and then store it in the fridge.
If you do choose to store your product in this way, remember to warn customers that it will need a few minutes to reach room temperature, which is the optimum temperature at which to enjoy chocolate.
Of course, it is always important to consider the age of your chocolate supplies, because after one year it is likely to be past its prime. Therefore, remember when you are storing it to make sure you are selling the products which were made first. You don’t want perfectly good chocolate passing its peak at the back of your storage cupboard!
Chocolate’s delicacy is what has made it such an enduring favourite for so many centuries, but it is this delicacy which means we need to give its storage a little extra thought, especially through the hot summer months. But store it properly and delicious, snappy, glossy chocolate will be your reward.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established chocolate suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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