Does chocolate really expire?
Have you ever wondered what the real expiration date of your chocolate is? The answer is not necessarily written on the packaging of your tablet…
When you buy a chocolate bar (preferably Bean-to-Bar), you tend to check the expiration date on the packaging to find out how long the chocolate will be edible. It also happens that we find a tablet lost in a cupboard and we scrupulously look at the expiry date before daring to break a square.
In both cases, it is good to know the real expiration date of the chocolate bars in order to avoid food waste or to avoid ingesting a product that is no longer edible.
You may be surprised to learn that, despite the expiration date, chocolate remains edible and can be safely consumed longer than the expiration date listed on the bars.
It is best to consume chocolate bars as fresh as possible, but they may still be considered edible a few months after the expiration date printed on the package. However, chocolatiers, whether artisanal or industrial, are very careful with expiration dates. They prefer to indicate a shorter period than a longer period in order to avoid any risk to consumers' health.
Depending on the type of chocolate, the integrity of the packaging and the method of storage, there are some general rules to respect:
Dark Chocolate : If unopened and stored properly, dark chocolate has an average shelf life of 2 years (from the day it was made). If it has been opened, but is still stored properly, the rule of thumb is one year.
Milk chocolate : For milk chocolate and white chocolate bars, the shelf life is halved. One year, if not opened and stored properly, and 6 to 8 months if opened and stored properly. Generally speaking, you need to be much more attentive to the use-by dates as soon as the chocolate contains milk.
Unlike milk chocolate and white chocolate, dark chocolate does not become inedible after its expiration date, but simply loses certain taste qualities. Some chocolate professionals even believe that dark chocolate improves over time. As with wine, new aromas can develop as chocolate ages. Finally, the lifespan of the tablet depends on storage, we remember that it is better to avoid the refrigerator which will freeze the fatty molecules of the cocoa butter and lead to the appearance of unappetizing whitish traces.