The Chocolate Life

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Hi all

I’ve just found this site and would appreciate any replies. I’m starting a small online gift bag company and would like to offer chocolate bars and truffles as well.

The suppliers have told me that they have a long shelf life but I’m wondering about cost effective home storage. I know they should be stored in a cool dry place (cupboards away from heat and sunlight) but wonder if anyone knows of any type of storage or insulation boxes that might help bring down the temperature even more.

I'm from the UK and am also looking for anyone who supplies their own products.


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Replies to This Discussion

Storing chocolates in an aluminum container works great. In addition to storing away from light and heat, you need to store them away from smells. The aluminum box will greatly help with that. Also keep in mind that the shelf life of chocolate is best when it is stored at a consistent temperature. There are different opinions on what temp is best, though I store my chocolate at 62 F. Another thing to get the best shelf life is to buy "fresh" chocolate that is stored and shipped correctly from a quality source. Too often, I find "new" products on the shelf that were made from chocolate that was years old or handled incorrectly. One budding confectioner I knew got all of his chocolate from Trader Joes. To demonstrate to him that he was buying abused chocolate, I had him open several blocks and chip a conner of each one then taste them side by side. Even though he was storing the chocolate correctly once it got into his possession, the blocks all had picked up various scents or showed damage. The blocks were all the same (maker, %, type, etc.) One tasted like it was stored with fish, another had an odd mouth feel (heat damage over time), and another had a strong coffee overtone to it. This is just too common. Even larger distributers have issues with proper storage, and often sell old product. Look for expiration dates on your bulk chocolates. You might be surprised at what you see.

And the same goes for truffles... A good truffle will have a short shelf life. Stick with truffles that have a shelf life of 3 months or less. Work with the chocolatier to send you 'on demand' shipments to keep you product fresh. I set this up by having the vendor place a guaranteed order (contract) for say 50 boxes. Then the product is filled and shipped as needed, say 10 boxes every 3 weeks. I then bill them as the product is delivered. This way, I get the volume order and the vendor gets the freshest product at volume pricing. Keep in mind that your shipping charges do go up, but you will avoid having to toss expired/bad product (which is much more expensive!!!)

My advice for someone just starting out in the chocolate gift field is to do your homework. Stay away from the mass market brands and stay away from distributors. Instead, find established artisan chocolatiers who produce in small batches. Call them and see if they have a passion for their product. You will get the best and freshest product from these passionate chocolatiers because they truly care for their work! The price point will be higher, but your reputation for quality will be better and most customers are happier with a quality product. You also get the added bonus of carrying a product that can not be found in a high end grocery store (for cheaper then you can buy/sell it) so your customers come back to YOU when they fall in love with it because they can't get it anywhere else.

Hope this helps...

Hi Karen

Thanks for the reply and the information.

I think an aluminum container will be perfect for storage and i’ll see where I can get them from.

You are right to suggest that people starting out do their homework and I’ve been researching for a while. I’m in touch with two companies, (neither of which are mass market producers or distributors which is important) one for truffles and one for bars.

The truffles are handmade by an established company and I think they are made to order and the chocolate bars will be produced by an artisan chocolatier. I’ll look into your suggestion of ordering a set amount per month as that will work very well.

If temp.control is a problem, have you a separate room you can use for storage? You could put a one room air conditioner in the room to keep a steady, cool temp.
Hi Lex

Unfortunately I don't have a separate room at the moment, but this i something that I would be looking at in the future.



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