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Around the world, chocolates have always been one of the favorite gifts on special occasions just like Valentine’s Day. We either give or receive them wrapped in boxes or even specially designed bouquets that look just like real flowers.

However, have you ever had that disheartening moment when you excitedly open the package and find the chocolate covered with white or light brown blotches? It’s such a sad sight, right?

Since we wouldn’t want to waste our precious bar of goodness, we start to investigate. We either check the production and expiration dates, or meticulously look for tears or holes on the packaging. When we find nothing wrong, we then wonder if it is safe to eat.

To answer, yes, it is safe to eat. Your chocolate just bloomed! These spots, called “blooms”, are normal chemical reactions of chocolates from various factors.

Types of Chocolate Blooms

• Sugar Bloom – According to Amano Artisan Chocolates, sugar bloom occurs when the surface of the chocolate becomes moist due to hot and/or humid temperature. Chocolates have sugar crystals that are quite invisible to our naked eyes. Once moisture comes in contact, these sugar crystals are then dissolved. And as the moisture evaporates, the dissolved sugar crystallizes on the surface, giving the chocolate a hazy and dusty appearance.

 sugar bloom

• Fat Bloom – Extension Nutritionist Dr. Barbara Struempler explains that fat blooms occur when cocoa butter, or the “chocolate’s fat”, separates from the crystallized mixture and rises to the surface. This normally happens due to drastic changes in temperature during tempering – a delicate process wherein the chocolate is heated until it reaches certain specific temperatures, creating a firm and stable structure.

Well-tempered chocolates are those that have a glossy and crisp finish, as described by Le Cordon Bleu Paris. If the tempering process has not been done correctly, whitish-gray spots form on the surface of the chocolate, hence, the fat bloom.

 Chocolate Bloom

How to Avoid Chocolate Bloom

Aside from the errors made during the production process, chocolate blooms are also often caused by improper storage. Here are a few tips on how to properly store your chocolates:

• Do not store in places that are too cold or too hot.
• Other than the refrigerator, you can store chocolate in airtight containers or in any cool place to maintain freshness.
• Make sure to wrap them tightly to prevent any moisture from coming in.

We at SGS can help you ensure the quality and safety of your food products, even chocolates, through our food microbiology testing services.

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.