Chocolate, when not stored properly, can lose its richness and flavour. It is very sensitive to humidity and temperature. The ideal storage temperature for chocolate is between 15 and 17 °C (59 to 63 °F) with a humidity that is less than 50%.Chocolate should be stored separately from other foods, especially those with strong aromas such as herbs, spices, onions, garlic, cheese and meat.
When storing chocolates, make sure that they are kept in a closed box or container. Choose a dark place for storing, preferably unaffected by direct sunlight. Besides melting, high temperatures can cause chocolate to have what is called a “fat bloom” effect. This is when the oil or fat from the cocoa butter rises to the surface. Do not refrigerate or freeze chocolates unless you intend to preserve it after the indicated expiration date. Refrigerating or freezing the chocolate will cause it to discolour and develop an unwanted effect called “sugar bloom.” This happens when the chocolate absorbs too much moisture from the low temperature in the refrigerator and develops a whitish discolouration, a result of the sugar crystals rising to the surface. Temperature fluctuations can ruin the chocolate’s texture and colour.
If you live in an area where the temperature can rise above 30 degrees and drop below 10 degrees C, then the best alternative is to refrigerate your chocolates so that it doesn’t suffer from the temperature. Keep it in a closed box so it doesn’t take any foreign odours. Before eating or using as an ingredient let the chocolate return to room temperature in the box and unwrap only after it has returned to room temperature so to prevent sugar bloom.
Blooming effects do not affect the chocolate’s taste and edibility. Sugar or fat bloom on the chocolate does not indicate that the chocolate is spoiled or old. In fact, even with blooming, it still retains its flavour. The chocolate only becomes visually and texturally unappealing but it can still be eaten and enjoyed, as used for baking. Dark chocolate that has had a blooming effect can be melted and re-moulded to restore its original texture and appearance. Storing chocolates in the right temperature is mostly for aesthetic purposes, which is a big part of experiencing chocolate at its finest.