Abstract: Chocolate storage is critical to final product quality. Inadequate storage, especially with temperature fluctuations, may lead to rearrangement of triglycerides that make up the bulk of the chocolate matrix; this rearrangement may lead to fat bloom. Bloom is the main cause of quality loss in the chocolate industry. The effect of storage conditions leading to bloom formation on texture and flavor attributes by human and instrumental measures has yet to be reported. Therefore, the impact of storage conditions on the quality of dark chocolate by sensory and instrumental measurements was determined. Dark chocolate was kept under various conditions and analyzed at 0, 4, and 8 wk of storage. Ten members of a descriptive panel analyzed texture and flavor. Instrumental methods included texture analysis, color measurement, lipid polymorphism by X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry, triglyceride concentration by gas chromatography, and surface properties by atomic force microscopy. Results were treated by analysis of variance, cluster analysis, principal component analysis, and linear partial least squares regression analysis. Chocolate stored 8 wk at high temperature without fluctuations and 4 wk with fluctuations transitioned from form V to VI. Chocolates stored at high temperature with and without fluctuations were harder, more fracturable, more toothpacking, had longer melt time, were less sweet, and had less cream flavor. These samples had rougher surfaces, fewer but larger grains, and a heterogeneous surface. Overall, all stored dark chocolate experienced instrumental or perceptual changes attributed to storage condition. Chocolates stored at high temperature with and without fluctuations were most visually and texturally compromised.
Practical Application: Many large chocolate companies do their own “in-house” unpublished research and smaller confectionery facilities do not have the means to conduct their own research. Therefore, this study relating sensory and instrumental data provides published evidence available for application throughout the confectionery industry.