Cold annihilates flavor. It's the worst thing you can do to chocolate and that's all you need to know! No. There is more to know of course, like why is it a good idea to put chocolate in your mouth? Yes and more on that later. If it was in a fridge however, you may taste nothing at all. You will definitely suppress all the flavors you love and maybe catch the simultaneous whiffs from ALL your leftovers.
Because there is great satisfaction as melting chocolate morphs from solid to liquid to nothing in our mouths, chocolate is always a good idea. Besides for textural satisfaction, chocolate enjoyment can come from our sinus cavities -- a satisfactory olfactory experience. The wonderful aromas and fragrances of cacao and chocolate become freed as they are warmed within our oral cavities. If chocolate stays solid, its safe to assume there will be almost zero wonders released. Definitely do not freeze your chocolate and don't leave it uneaten.
If chocolate doesn't melt, flavors won't be released. And as you can guess, cold temperatures keep chocolate from melting. This is why chocolatiers, chocolate makers and chocolate tasters do not refrigerate their chocolate. Imagine putting a hand-crafted piece of chocolate in your mouth and tasting nothing! Room temperature is just fine! Most rooms are under 84 f and above 60 f. Chocolate kitchens run at 72 f to keep chocolate stable and ensure tempering and fat crystallization conditions. That means 72 is not necessarily the best temperature to store chocolate in.
There are more reasons to keep chocolate out of the fridge. Like "bloom" or "fat bloom" (as there are 2 types of chocolate bloom). This is when cold temperatures cause the cocoa butter to re-crystalize into a different phase. In other words, the cocoa butter re-solidifies causing a color change. Chocolate can bloom in the fridge for another reason, moisture. Condensation, which happens when chocolate is removed from a fridge can cause the air around the bar to pull water out of the air and onto the surface of your chocolate bar. This would be if a bar is unsealed and removed from a fridge. The moisture will pull the sugar out of the chocolate bar and cause light brown mis-shapen surface fireworks called "sugar bloom". Water and chocolate mix, but it changes appearance and taste or aroma dispersal. If thats what you see, keep the bars as at 65 f to 70 f. Achieve this to avoid condensation and fat bloom from fridge storage.
Brittle, fragile and crumbly chocolate, will ultimately be the result of bloomed chocolate.
Chocolate bar mould shapes are vital to chocolate flavor, more on this later. For now just note that to taste the chocolate (whatever shape) you will need to raise it to 96 f orally.
Heat releases flavor! You probably already knew this but, this is a huge reason for cooking food and another one for putting chocolate in your mouth. Chocolate is of course roasted, before all the myriad of cacao bean genetics are melanged. Those flavors, contained in the bean nibs, are not just released during roasting, volatile flavors are also burned off. Heat is created through enzymatic breakdown and of course the Malliard reaction (or simply just known as the raising of temperatures). Lovely cacao and chocolate flavor is developed from both types of reactions. Its even possible for too much flavor to be released from either reaction. Enzymatic reactions from oxidation in chocolate making can make it difficult to control the temperature and flavor of chocolate. Eating chocolate ensures the temperature of chocolate will turn its aroma airborne.
When melanging, the nib aroma of the seeds of the Theobroma Cacao tree, marry. It can take up to 28 days for chocolate flavors to stablize after melanging. During the dispersal of cacao butter from the cacao mass while melanging, good and bad smells come out. Its important to increase the enzymatic changes in flavor through oxidation. This is why chocolate is often aerated (or conched) before poured into chocolate bars. Oxidation will of course turn the purple cacao beans, browned from fermentation, even browner. Oxidation, occurs during and after making chocolate, since oxygen is everywhere. Chocolate flavors won't stay stable when exposed to oxygen for long periods of time, so its important to never keep your chocolate open in the fridge. Air will cause the flavors of the chocolate to disperse and change.
There are many, many reasons to stop putting your chocolate in the fridge. How about this one? Fat absorbs aromas. This means your butter, even plant-based oils, can pick up the flavors and aromas of other foods in your fridge. The fat in chocolate is no exception. Even the aroma of freon from a fridge can be tasted in the finest chocolate if it is refrigerated. Onions, veggie burgers or even old salad greens might turn up on your palette if you eat refrigerated chocolate. Those things would have to be in your fridge in the first place of course.
Since fat absorbs aroma and sometimes cocoa butter in chocolate bars can be up to 30% or more, its important the chocolate only picks up its own smell. This is ensured through aging in aroma safe-containers. Chocolate goes through a lot effort to arrive to you with a full profile of flavor. Craft chocolate makers secretly get sad when told that their chocolate went in your fridge. No more secrets!
Stop putting chocolate in cold places because of fragility. You do not want to find out how much easier chocolate breaks and snaps when its cold. It can even shatter when frozen. Let's not leave out that it will also take longer for the chocolate to actually melt and release flavor. The colder it is, the longer it takes to finally get to any tastes that could even be left from cold storage. You don't want to wait for flavor and aroma to develop in your mouth. Chocolate is most enjoyable when you can taste (or smell) it as soon as you put it in your mouth.
Commonly wine cabinets are used by bean to bar enthusiasts to ensure a safe temperature for their chocolate. You see the big problem is that no one wants their chocolate to melt right? Wine coolers can be set around room temperature and simply left alone to keep your chocolate in perfect condition.
Chocolate makers typically uses aroma safe bags and air conditioned factories / storage rooms to keep their chocolate totally safe and intact aroma wise.
Another thing chocolate makers do to ensure an amazing flavor profiles is a little more technical. Engraving in the tablets of chocolates or fine carvings on the surface of a bar always effect the aroma dispersal. Chocolate bar moulds actually determine what the chocolate will taste like and even its flavor evolution. The smaller and more detailed the mould work of a chocolate, the faster the chocolate will melt. The opposite is true too, meaning, a slab of chocolate will melt slower. The rate of melt can demonstrate exactly where, when and how a bar of chocolates flavors will be profiled. Some of the best chocolate bars have the shallow and deep grooves to create multiple different evolutions of flavor.
Three Chocolate Tips to Live By
1. The best way to store chocolate is at room temperature. It wont cost you a wine fridge or an electric bill. It's free!
2. The best way to taste chocolate is in small slivers. Bigger pieces actually take longer to melt, which takes them longer to give you flavor.
3. Chocolate will fully absorb the aroma of everything you put it near! Be deliberate as to what smells are chocolate adjacent.
This author knows what you are thinking, "I'll just eat my chocolate!" All though that is a great attitude, now you can eat chocolate and explain why it best belongs in your mouth instead of in storage. There really is no better way to store chocolate outside of consuming it. In case you are thinking, "I'll just freeze it instead of putting it in the fridge", you missed the whole point of this article. The freezer is worse for chocolate flavor experience than the fridge. Just put it in your mouth! End of conversation!