Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Simply Enjoy - Crispy Almond Milk Chocolate bar - June 16, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Simply Enjoy
Crispy Almond Belgian Milk Chocolate bar
OK + - Good
Weight: 1.34 oz. (38 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories for 3 squares
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #8 of Chocolate and Almonds Theme Week.

This generously sized Simply Enjoy Crispy Almond Belgian Milk Chocolate bar was fairly smooth and quite sweet. The bar was made with Utz Certified cocoa -- a program geared toward helping farmers and promoting sustainable farming methods.

Some whiteish spots had formed around bits of embedded almond in the bar. I'm assuming this was due to a phenomenon known as "bloom."

When "Bloom" Happens
The best place to store chocolate is in a cool (not cold) dark place. If chocolate is stored at a colder or hotter temperature than recommended, the surface of a bar may develop bloom, a slightly white, splotchy appearance. Many times these changes are merely cosmetic. Other times, white splotches can signal a degradation in flavor quality or texture.

Chocolate bars are "tempered" using carefully controlled heating and cooling processes, to achieve a perfect crystalline structure. Particles of cocoa fat or butter become aligned with cocoa solids, helping to ensure that a chocolate bar breaks with a hard snap and has a longer-lasting, stable configuration.

If hot weather can melt chocolate and/or create "fat bloom," then storing chocolate in the moist fridge can result in "sugar bloom" where the sugar starts to crystallize out a bit. If there are flavor additions, like the almond bits in today's bar, and these nuts have been dipped in sugar or were roasted in oil (or both sugar and oil/fat), then it's possible that the sugar could crystallize differently around the nuts under certain conditions.

In the case of today's bar, the bloom (slightly whiteish discolored spots) did not influence the taste. This is often true, but it's better to be safe and adhere to proper storage methods and temperature if you have control over such things.

Bloom can be caused by a less than perfect temper, but more likely (in my experience) bloom is due to fluctuations in temperature and moisture, which can occur on a loading dock, warehouse, or in a delivery truck.

If it's any consolation, you can always use the affected chocolate to make chocolate fondue.

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