Gloss and condition can be quickly assessed just by looking at a piece of chocolate. When a ‘bloom’ is observed it is generally caused either by heat or by moisture. The first type is normally referred to as a ‘cocoa butter bloom’, and indicates that the chocolate was not tempered correctly or that it has been allowed to get too warm and then cool down again. The cocoa butter crystals rise to the surface and re-crystallize. This does not always affect the flavour of the chocolate, but should be seen as a warning that it was not stored in ideal conditions. It can be rectified by tempering the chocolate again, thus realigning the crystalline structure. The second kind of bloom is referred to as a ‘sugar bloom’. If moisture is allowed to settle on the surface of chocolate, which can happen when it is stored in a damp atmosphere, it draws the sugar crystals up to the surface. The sugar then dissolves in the water, and later re-crystallizes on the surface, destroying the texture of the chocolate. The whole appearance and texture will be grey and gritty, and the only place for it is in the dustbin! So be careful when storing chocolate in the fridge; it is best kept in an air-tight container. With regard to colour in general, the redder and lighter the cocoa, the finer the flavour.
© 1993 Chantal Coady. All rights reserved.