But first a little story
Leaving the grocery store these days can be tricky at times. Seems there are more and more obstacles to navigate between check out and your car. Somebody is selling something almost every time I shop. Freshly recovering from debit card swipe shock after dropping $200 plus on a half full shopping cart of grub, essentials, and impulses I’m typically in no mood to reach for my bill fold again. That and my ice cream is starting to melt.
These peddlers are hard working folks I know, and I hate to say no to them, so I do the next best thing by finding creative ways to avoid these tiny confrontations. My favorite tactic is to answer a fake phone call on my way out the door. A true character flaw of mine I know, but in this case, acknowledging there is a problem is the only step. I’m good with my flaw on this.
There is one group of sneaky little peddlers that shows up from time to time, and they don’t play fair. They are cookie pushers dressed in uniforms and ribbons, with sweet little voices, and heart warming eyes. My will power is never under a more qualified attack.
There are three very good reasons I have a hard time saying no to the mother of all sales pitches: Thin Mints, adorable kids with good purpose, and the fear of telling a Girl Scout no while a nearby mother lurks ready to unleash unmerciful stink eye in my direction. Psychologists will tell you the quickest way to separate a person from their cash is guilt. These adorable unrelenting creatures with the cookies I crave backed by the immeasurable guilt in saying no is a nearly unstoppable force to reckon with. It is much easier to simply cave in.
Why Freeze Thin Mints?
So a few boxes of thin mints find their way into the freezer at our house every year for pleasure, and now the point I’m trying to make is finally here. Thin mints straight from the freezer are one undeniable craving of mine. They are cold, snappy, minty, sugary, chocolatey discs of happiness. Just to be clear, thin mints are frozen for now, not for later. At least around my house anyways.
Many customers of ours ask about storing chocolate. A certain number of those folks instinctively think of putting the chocolate in the fridge. So when I say don’t do that, some folks hit me with the raised eyebrow look. Even a thin mint connoisseur can shoot me their own stink eye as if I’ve just challenged every belief they grew up on. Once past that awkward little moment and I submit a reasonable explanation, knowledge of good chocolate saves the day.
It is very reasonable to store your good chocolate in a cool dry place like your pantry. Seal it up as best you can. Chocolate has a tendency to absorb aromas near by which is why in the fridge next to the half onion can cause some problems unless you happen to like chilled onion flavored chocolate.
Room Temperature is your friend
Like wine, beer, and coffee, chocolate’s aromas, flavors, and texture change at different temperatures. Overly chilled chocolate will mask many of the complex flavors in crafted chocolate. The great experience in craft chocolate is discovering beautiful flavor notes that came solely from cocoa beans themselves. You spent the bucks for a hand crafted chocolate, so you might as well enjoy it while at its best condition. Of course, overly warm chocolate will begin to soften and possibly melt which will change the snappy texture and glossy appearance of good chocolate. Store and enjoy at 70 +/- 5 degrees.
What happens when you pull something out of the fridge and set it on the counter? Lots of condensation forms. When something cool meets warmer humid air the cool surface starts to sweat. This might be nice for a glass of lemon aid but condensation isn’t much good for good chocolate.
In a perfect world, put your chocolate where you store your red wine (55 – 60). Just let the chocolate come to room temperature before you enjoy it. Storing chocolate in your wine cooler will extend it’s storage life to well over a year. While you enjoy chocolate as it is melting in your mouth pay very close attention to what is happening. Notice how subtle flavor notes appear, fade, and linger. You’ll get to that happy place in craft chocolate in far better shape when the chocolate starts at room temp or slightly above.
More on tasting chocolate soon.