Ever feel gutted when you find an expired bar of chocolate? Maybe not that often because the chances anyone ever having leftover chocolates is low, but sometimes chocolates can be misplaced and forgotten. But you don’t have to worry the next time you find a misplaced chocolate bar because chocolate happens to be one of those foods that takes a long time to expire (like pasta and chips).
Depending on the type of chocolate, there are some general indications you can follow to determine its shelf life.
Dark chocolate is known to last longer than milk and white chocolate. The absence of dairy in chocolate makes it less perishable. If unopened and stored properly, dark chocolate can last up to 2 years. If opened but stored well, it can last up to a year.
However for milk and white chocolate, its lifespan is cut in half. A year if unopened and stored properly and 6-8 months if opened.
The best before date only indicates when the product should be eaten to experience the best flavour. Although with chocolate, taste doesn’t differ too much when it’s consumed past it’s expiry date.
The expiration of your chocolate bars shouldn’t be confused with sugar and fat bloom though.
Sometimes when you open up your bar of chocolate and it has slightly white or brown splotches on its surface you don’t have to worry – it’s still edible.
Sugar bloom is a uniform white coat on the chocolate that indicates the sugar in the chocolate has crystallised. This happens when the chocolate gets in contact with water, or if the chocolate bar is kept in the refrigerator, or it’s spent some time in a place with high humidity.
Fat bloom is the lighter coloured spots on the chocolate. This occurs when the cocoa butter has separated from the cocoa mass and rises to the surface. Usually happens when the chocolate was not well-tempered, or has been exposed to fluctuations in temperature.
Chocolate that has bloomed might lose its original texture and flavour, but it’s still completely safe to eat! However the best way to know if a chocolate bar is safe to eat if judging it based on its smell and taste. Give it a sniff and a little taste if needed to know if it’s okay to be consumed.