store chocolate
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chocolate, Uncategorized

How You Should Store Chocolate

Chocolate is one of life’s luxuries that should be enjoyed at its absolute best. While for some of us it may be impossible to put aside a box or bar of chocolates to eat slowly as a treat, others have more willpower!

Regardless of whether you are stashing your carefully selected chocolate away for an hour or two, or want to keep it for longer, it is important that you know how to store it correctly.

After all, it would be heartbreaking for good chocolate to go to waste!

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to. We will talk you through the process to store chocolate, so when it’s time to indulge, you get the full flavour and texture that the artisanal creators intended.

 

Does Chocolate Go Bad?

First things first: you will be pleased to know that technically, chocolate in itself doesn’t go “off.” If stored correctly, it can last years.

However, it can undergo some changes to the taste or texture that make it less delectable if not stored correctly.

The exception to this rule is if your chocolate has inclusions or is of the truffle variety. In which case, you need to take extra care when storing it and may need to consume it more quickly than regular varieties.

 

How Long Does Chocolate Last?

Stashed away correctly, dark chocolate can last up to two years, while milk chocolate will be good for around one year. Both varieties can last double this time if kept in the fridge or freezer, but there will be some unpleasant side effects, which we outline below.

Truffles and chocolate with fillings have a much shorter shelf life. You only have a few months to scoff them if you keep them in the pantry. Always pay attention to the best before labels so that you can enjoy your choccies when they are at their best.

 

How To Store Chocolate

Good quality chocolate, without preservatives or nasties, is temperamental and needs to be stored with care.

The ideal storage temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. As we well know, chocolate has a low melting point, so anything warmer than that will compromise the texture and quality.

Put your chocolatey treats into a dark, cool, dry cupboard to help retain their delicious qualities.

If you have already opened your chocolate, it is best to store it in an airtight container. This is because cocoa butter has the annoying habit of absorbing odours and flavours from the surrounding environment and can attract pests like ants.

The reason we recommend storing your chocolate in a dark place is that light (both natural and artificial) can oxidise chocolate over time. This strips away some of the rich flavours and changes the texture.

 

Can I Store Chocolate In The Fridge?

Generally, it is better to stick to the temperatures described above. But if it is too hot or there is no suitable storage spot, you can keep chocolate in the fridge.

Keep in mind that refrigerating chocolate is likely to cause the flavours to become dull over time. Your precious chocolate will also likely experience “sugar bloom.” This is when a white film appears on the surface. It is caused by increased moisture, which brings sugar crystals to the surface. But don’t fret, the whitening is only cosmetic and won’t impact the texture.

To help prevent this from happening, store your chocolate in an airtight container in the fridge. If possible, leave the chocolate out at room temperature before eating, to allow it to develop those full flavours again.

 

Can I Freeze Chocolate?

Again, it is possible to freeze your chocolate, but it is better to store it in other ways. But, if you are in it for the long haul, you can pop your chocolates in the freezer. Make sure they are in airtight containers and be prepared for some texture and flavour changes long term.

 

There are a number of ways you can protect your chocolate from the light and the heat. The ideal way to store it is in a cool, dark place between 18 and 20 degrees celsius. But if you have no other options, then you can refrigerate it. However, if you do, be prepared for some changes in flavour and appearance!

Luckily, the chocolates in our Chocolate Tour subscription boxes are so yummy that they won’t hang around for long! Check out the range in store.

chocolatiers
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chocolate, Chocolatiers, Uncategorized

How Artisan Chocolatiers Are Different To Larger Makers

The chocolate that many of us know today is a far cry from the chocolate of old. Those mass manufactured, supermarket shelf offerings are certainly not traditional flavours.

But it is not just the flavours. Mass produced by machines and stuffed full of ingredients to make it smell, taste and feel a certain way, the larger makers lack the artistry and craft of smaller, artisanal chocolatiers.

Artisan or craft chocolate makers are small businesses with a focus on hand producing authentic products in smaller quantities. They take great pride in their craft. They spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the “alchemy” of creating truly delectable and distinctive chocolate offerings.

Much like the craft beer scene – which has erupted in a big way in New Zealand – artisan chocolate makers are passionate about the quality of their offerings. In fact, many of these humble chocolatiers have won national and international awards for their innovative and mouth watering products!

Here at The Chocolate Tour we LOVE artisan chocolate. We would almost go so far to say that you haven’t really tasted chocolate until you have sampled artisanal chocolate.

It is so different from large-scale brands in the following ways:

 

How An Artisan Chocolatier Is Different To A Larger Maker

 

The Cacao Beans

Much like grapes and coffee beans, the flavour of chocolate can vary greatly depending on where the cacao beans are sourced from. Artisan chocolatiers put a great deal of effort into sourcing unique beans from around the globe and bringing out the inherent taste characteristics in each type.

From Guatemala and Papua New Guinea to Fiji and Haiti, artisans often work directly with small growers to source their beans. They also care about sustainability and ethical purchasing, supporting local communities by paying what the products are worth.

 

The Elaborate Process

Making chocolate by hand is a true craft. Artisans painstakingly work from bean to bar, overseeing each stage of the process to create one-of-a-kind chocolates. From roasting and milling to pressing, tempering and moulding, they have complete control over each batch.

 

Creativity And Innovation

Because artisanal chocolate makers craft small batches by hand, they have endless opportunities for creativity and innovation. A quick browse through any artisan chocolatier’s offerings, and you will find diverse flavour combinations you had never dreamed of.

While the larger manufacturers tend to stick with the tried and true favourites, smaller makers love to experiment and create new tastes and textures.

 

Quality Ingredients

Artisans rely on carefully selected, quality ingredients to create the superb taste and texture of their chocolate. The larger maker’s pile in extras like milk solids, emulsifiers, flavours, cocoa powder and vegetable fat. Not to mention going overboard on the sugar!

An artisan chocolate bar will often only feature cacao beans and sugar. The emphasis is more on cacao content than sugar.

 

Supporting Local Chocolatiers

When you purchase artisanal chocolate, you are supporting local businesses and individuals who live and die by their craft. You get to experience the different flavour profiles of cacao beans from across the globe, while supporting developing communities in the countries of origin.

Artisanal chocolate is a treat for the senses that allows you to appreciate the craft of chocolate making as it was intended to be: pure, natural, and a little bit decadent.

So, if you would like to try some “real” chocolate, why not consider a Chocolate Tour subscription. With monthly or quarterly options, we deliver an amazing range of different pieces from artisan chocolatiers all over New Zealand. Check out the options now.

 

valentines day
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chocolate, Uncategorized

Why We Give Chocolate On Valentines Day

V-Day is fast approaching. The day of love. The day you get to show your significant other just how much they mean to you with a meaningful gift.

Or really just a good excuse to eat some deliciously decadent chocolate!

Whether you are looking for a sweet gift to woo a crush or a tender gesture for your other half, chocolate is a go-to Valentines Day gift that epitomises romance and affection.

Did you know, in the U.S. alone, people spend around $1.7 billion dollars on candy for the day dedicated to love? And, they spend 75% of it on chocolate. It is not just the Americans that go ga-ga for chocolate. In fact, the same spending behaviour is seen in many countries around the world.

Naturally, we think that every day is a good day to receive the gift of chocolate. But, we were curious as to how the most revered of sweet treats became the go-to gift on Valentines day.

Here’s what we discovered…

 

Where It All Began

Any chocolate lover knows that cacao beans are what makes the chocolatey magic happen. For centuries, that humble bean has been considered an aphrodisiac. Cacao was thought to stimulate desire and provide energy for — shall we say — romantic encounters.

It seems to have begun back in the time of the early Aztecs, by a rather raunchy emperor called Montezuma. He was rumoured to eat cocoa beans and chug rich cacao beverages as a way of fueling his encounters with the ladies. Even the infamous playboy Casanova referred to cocoa drinks as “the elixir of love.”

So, how did this potent and sexy brew cross over into the mainstream, commercial realm of Valentine’s Day?

 

Featuring In Valentines Day

A kind of Valentines Day has existed for centuries. But, the gift giving component only became popular in the Victorian Era. Up until the 1840s, chocolate was considered a luxury product. It was unaffordable for the average Jane or Joe. But, around this time, a marketing genius (who we will be forever grateful to) produced the first chocolate “bar”. This little invention transformed the world of chocolate.

During the Victorian era, chocolate boxes became a popular way for a man to declare his love to a woman. A combination of cultural trends and some clever marketing caused waves in society. In fact, Victorian etiquette books warned single women against accepting chocolates from a man that they weren’t engaged or related to! This was because such raunchy connotations were attached to boxed chocolates!

 

A Chocolate Love Story

As the product became more affordable, it increased opportunity. One of the grandfathers of chocolate, Richard Cadbury, had a marketing lightbulb moment in 1868. He decided to create a heart-shaped box full of chocolatey goodness specifically for Valentine’s Day. Ornately decorated with hearts and kittens, the boxes were a huge success.

The swooning recipients of the elegant gift, treasured the boxes as much as the contents. The pretty boxes were lovingly used to store love letters and other mementos within.

From that point, chocolate manufacturers simply utilised the power of advertising to firmly establish chocolate as the gift of choice on the most romantic day of the year.

 

Does Chocolate Deserve The Reputation?

There isn’t a lot of scientific proof to back up the aphrodisiac properties of cocoa. However, cocoa does contain components that affect the pleasure and reward centres of the brain. Meaning that eating it causes your mood to lift and, potentially produce feelings similar to those of falling in love.

Whatever the reason for the link between love and chocolate, there’s no doubt that receiving a box of carefully selected, decadent chocolates on Valentine’s Day makes one feel special and spoiled – the perfect recipe for a sweet, romantic rendezvous.

So on that note, why not treat your special someone to a gift of specially selected, delicious NZ artisan chocolate this Valentine’s day? Select a one-off gift box, or you can even purchase them a gift subscription (or one for yourself!) Shop the boxes here.