Should you put chocolate in the fridge?

5 Jun 2024

Chocolate Knowledge

Although it’s hard to complain about summer, we can say that warm weather is chocolate’s prime enemy. So, should you chill your chocolate to avoid it melting, or could this compromise its flavour?

As the sun shines a little brighter and the temperatures heat up, summertime seems to lift everyone’s spirits. And who can blame us? The summer in the UK brings a particular sense of joy, with longer evenings, park picnics, and beach days to enjoy, too.

However, for us chocoholics, summer is the antagonist of our favourite treat as its hot conditions mean chocolate bars are prone to melt. This unfortunately transforms your snappable cacao treats into a delicious, albeit melted, mess. And when you’re sporting your fresh summer wardrobe ready to go, the last thing you want is to spill melted chocolate on your new clothes.

To avoid this problem, some of us may store our chocolate in the fridge. However, storing chocolate in the fridge can actually alter the chocolate bar as well, and we’re here to tell you why.  So, this begs the question — can we chocolate lovers ever win in the summer? Let’s find out. 

Chocolate bar dusted in chocolate powder on dark background.

How does the fridge impact your chocolate?

Whilst you may think that the fridge simply makes your chocolate just a little bit colder, chilling your chocolate can have a few other effects.

The chocolate taste

Although you might think storing chocolate in the fridge only alters its texture, refrigerating chocolate can actually impact its taste as well.

We believe that the most satisfying chocolate has a high cacao content. Cacao butter gives your favourite Slabs, truffles, and solid chocolate’s irresistible melt-in-the-mouth texture, However, cacao butter is also very absorbent, meaning it can take on the flavours and odours from your fridge. As a result, you could find yourself munching on a chocolate bar which tastes like last night’s leftovers — which is probably not your ideal result.

That’s not all. There’s a reason why chocolate tastes so good as it’s melting in your mouth — because it’s supposed to! Cold temperatures can prevent your chocolate bar from releasing more subtle flavours, meaning you don’t quite get all the nuanced notes of cacao as you nibble.

The chocolate texture

Another reason why chocolate shouldn’t normally be stored in the fridge is that it alters its texture.

We believe that chocolate shouldn’t be chilled in the fridge, as it leads to something called ‘sugar bloom’. This happens when chocolate is chilled and then exposed to warmer temperatures. The condensation on the surface dissolves some of the sugar which then re-crystallises, leaving you with a grainy chocolate and a white surface layer. Any creamy, silky textures which you would have otherwise enjoyed are lost, leaving you with a brittle chocolate bar.

How can you save your chocolate?

In the summer, chocolate fans are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The choice between melted, squishy chocolate or hard, granular chocolate doesn’t seem like an easy decision.

However, there are ways to protect your chocolate from the heat of summer. For best results, we’d recommend that you store your chocolate in a temperature between 10C and 20C., Look for a cool and shady part of the house to store it in, such as a basement or a cool cupboard.. However, if the whole house seems to be warming up and there doesn’t seem to be another option, you can store your chocolate in the fridge as a last resort, although you need to take a few precautions to ensure the quality of your chocolate isn’t lost.

How to store your chocolate in the fridge and prevent blooming

Store your chocolate in an airtight container to ensure any unsavoury flavours don’t permeate your chocolate, altering its taste. To ward off the risk of dull flavour and a brittle texture, take your chocolate out of the fridge roughly 30 minutes before eating, although make sure you don’t leave it directly in the sunlight. This ensures your chocolate has time to warm up to room temperature without becoming a melted mess.

Does this apply to all chocolate?

Although we’ve been warning you against storing your chocolate bars in the fridge, there are times when refrigerating chocolate is a necessity. This is if you want to get creative in the kitchen and use chocolate as a decoration for your baked goods. Whatever design you opt for, you’ll want to melt it down and refrigerate it on a sheet of baking parchment if the ambient temperature is higher than the chocolate’s melting point of 30℃).

To keep the quality of your chocolate high, you’ll need to temper your chocolate to ensure that it doesn’t become dull and crumbly in the fridge. Whilst this might appear technical, tempering your chocolate is a relatively easy process, and it can be made easier by using chocolate which melts evenly and smoothly. We suggest using chocolate gemstones — their miniature size means your chocolate melts effortlessly.

Now you know the best way to store your chocolate in the summer, you’ll want to find the best type of chocolate to enjoy. Whether you opt for Fruity Chocolates or Liqueur Chocolates, treat yourself to chocolate, whatever the weather.

How to store our chocolate properly

As summer temperatures climb, the challenge of keeping our Hotel Chocolat selections in perfect condition can be tricky – but fear not! It’s more than possible to keep your Hotel Chocolat chocolate in. While the temptation to pop a box of chocolates into the fridge for a quick chill might be strong, it’s important to understand why this method isn’t ideal for maintaining the exquisite quality of our products.

Understanding chocolate and heat

Chocolate is sensitive to both temperature and humidity. At higher temperatures, the cocoa butter in chocolate can melt. This leads to a loss of the crisp texture and complex flavour profiles that define our chocolates. If chocolate is stored in a refrigerator, the humidity inside can lead to ‘sugar bloom,’ where sugar crystals rise to the surface, affecting the chocolate’s smooth finish.

Optimal storage in summer

To preserve your chocolate’s voluptuous textures and deep flavours, store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. If you find your indoor environment rises above the ideal range of 15°C to 18°C, choose a dark, insulated cupboard away from any heat sources. This method will safeguard the chocolate against the summer heat without the dampness of a fridge.

Choosing the right chocolates for summer

Some of our products are more resilient to heat than others. For instance, our High-Cocoa Curated Collection is crafted to withstand warmer conditions better due to its dense texture and lower dairy content. Another excellent choice for warmer weather is our 45% Nutmilk Chocolate Batons, which blend the richness of finely milled nuts with cacao for a robust flavour that holds up well in heat.

Hotel Chocolat’s summer chocolate favourites

When it comes to enjoying chocolate in the summer heat, the quality of your chocolate can make a significant difference in how well it withstands the warmth. Our high-quality chocolates are crafted with a higher cacao content and less sugar, which not only enhances the flavour but also increases the melting point of the chocolate. This means that our chocolates are less likely to melt quickly compared to those with a higher sugar content, making them ideal for warmer conditions.

Our Serious Dark Fix H-Box, for example, features chocolates that explore the depths of rich cocoa with standout flavours like our Simple Dark Truffle and Mayan Pistachio. Dark chocolate’s higher cocoa content not only enriches the flavour but also enhances its melting resistance, making it ideal for outdoor gatherings or sunny events.

Similarly, the Serious Dark Fix Sleekster and All Dark Collection provide a mix of intense and luxurious options, crafted to maintain their integrity even when temperatures fluctuate. These elegantly crafted selections withstand warmer temperatures better than their milk or white chocolate counterparts, ensuring a perfect indulgent experience every time.

For those who appreciate the nuances of fine chocolate, our selections ensure that you can indulge in a luxurious treat without haste. The sophisticated packaging also helps protect the chocolates, making them perfect gifts or additions to your summer festivities.
Browse our summer chocolate selection today.