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Our Blog: Chocolate Talk

Why Does My Chocolate Look Weird?: The Story of Bloom

Several years ago, my mom and I went on a road trip to New England in July. I packed the provisions we’d need for the drive, including two or three chocolate bars (naturally). When we got to Rhode Island, we parked the car in the sun, then walked around for several hours. When we returned, it was already too late for our poor chocolate bars. They had not just softened in the hot car, but completely liquefied. However, they were still contained within their wrappers, so my mom and I thought they might be salvageable. When we got to Boston, we tossed the chocolate bars in the fridge to firm them back up.

They certainly firmed up, but they weren’t the same chocolate bars we started with. In addition to being misshapen from their ordeal, the bars now had a dull, whitish coating - what we in the chocolate biz call bloom.

Bloom can happen when cocoa butter fats in the chocolate separate and come to the surface. It’s not harmful - chocolate that has bloomed is perfectly safe to eat - but it is unsightly and can lead to a crumbly or greasy texture that’s less than ideal. Ideally, chocolate should be glossy, shiny, and snappy. Those qualities indicate good temper, which is essentially a stable crystallization of cocoa butter particles. (If you want a deep dive into the world of tempering, check out articles like this one). When chocolate isn’t tempered properly, or is thrown out of temper, the cocoa butter crystals go haywire, clustering up on the surface and creating those unappetizing smudges.

Bloom most frequently occurs when chocolate is improperly heated and cooled, as was the case with our road trip bars. Chocolate is a surprisingly delicate substance, and has to be gradually and gently melted and cooled. A hot car followed by a fridge is a recipe for disaster.

At Hedonist, if our chocolate blooms during the production process, we can sometimes fix the problem by re-melting the chocolate and starting over. If we can’t fix it, we have different, creative uses for the chocolate - for example, it may end up in ice cream!

As the weather warms, bloom is more likely to occur. If you’ve got chocolate at home, make sure it’s stored in a cool, dry place. If you absolutely must refrigerate your chocolate, wrap it tightly in plastic to protect against condensation. And never, under any circumstances, leave your chocolates in a hot car.

Pleasure, handcrafted. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates are handmade with fresh ingredients to give as gifts or indulge yourself.
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