Bloom. Such a pretty word. Lilies, mums, carnations, lilacs…you can almost smell them as you read the words.
When it comes to chocolate, bloom couldn’t be any uglier!!
It starts off something like this. In a fit of organizational zeal, you dump out the contents of your purse to tidy it up a bit. You discover the following items: $3.23 in random coins, two un-chewed pieces of Winter Mint gum, a key to the gym locker you rented last season and a sealed chocolate bar you think you grabbed from that trade show booth last month, but it could have just as easily been from your son’s Halloween bag last year.
This is a great day.
You’re a little hungry, so naturally, you unwrap the chocolate.
Uh oh. It’s a bit misshapen with white streaks interlaced across the top of the bar like that old fuzzy sweater sitting in the back of your closet. The closet can wait until next week. Back to the chocolate.
This is bloom. Do you pop it in your mouth anyway?? After looking around for that nosy coworker in Accounting, you decide discretion is key and quickly pop it into your mouth. You skipped breakfast after all. Is it safe? Sure. But tasty?? Probably not. Most likely, as you move it back and forth with your tongue, you’re starting to wonder if it was worth the risk or the calories. Sure, there’s a faint chocolate taste in there somewhere…but the texture, normally smooth and with a sharp snap…is definitely off. Instead of satisfying your craving, you’re beating down the vending machine shaking out anything with chocolate in the title just to eradicate the memory of your regrettable choice.
What has really happened, is that the fat (cocoa butter) has separated from the other ingredients. The smooth texture is gone and what’s left is a gritty aftertaste.
Contrary to what you might think, this has nothing to do with the age of the chocolate, but rather the conditions that it was manufactured under or stored. Remember, it had been a LONG time since you cleaned out that purse. You tossed it in the car when it was hot, walked down the street with it during that last Polar Vortex…and occasionally tossed it in that gym locker before canceling your membership.
You subjected that small piece of heaven to a number of unfavorable conditions that allowed it to melt a little, possibly refreeze and set again at room temperature. Chocolate is very particular. It not only must be manufactured in the perfect climate (cool, but not cold and with no humidity), but it must be stored in that same perfect environment.
One common mistake people make when they realize their chocolate is too warm and getting soft is to pop it in the fridge to reset it. While it will certainly harden, because the chemistry of the chocolate has already begun to change, the shock of the cold can also cause bloom.
Bloom is very preventable. Keep the chocolate in its original packaging (sealed) and in a cool, dry place. If those conditions are impossible to maintain – then storing in the refrigerator is OK, but let it settle at room temperature before eating it. The best solution? Eat, don’t store, your chocolate!!
And the purse is definitely the worst place to keep your guilty pleasure. Try the desk drawer instead.