Be the first to read new publications, subscribe to our Newsletter

Dark chocolate: Storage, shelf-life and spoilage

Everything you need to know about storage, duration and the best way to keep dark chocolate without wasting anything!

Published by Thierry on 13 November 2022

Dark chocolate (43% cocoa or more with no animal or vegetable milk)

It’s one of those foods that you can find in most households, known and appreciated by all, but do we know how to store it, how long to keep it for and what to do when we find an unappealing, greyish-looking leftover bar?

The experts at CriolloQuetzal have compiled a list of what you should know about this subject so that you can get the most pleasure and avoid any waste.


How long can you keep dark chocolate?

Pretty much indefinitely, although there are 3 phrases which should be pointed out:

  1. The chocolate has a Best Before Date (B.B.D) This is a regulatory date imposed by legislation in the producing country. The flavour, smell and nutritional qualities of the chocolate will be optimal between 1-2 years after production.
  2. After this date, you really shouldn’t throw your dark chocolate away, it is perfectly edible: the smell only disappears after 3 years and the taste only after 5 years.
  3. After 5 years, you can still use it, although it is in your interest to transform it. Melt it with fresh chocolate and put it in a mixture or grate it into shavings to decorate your pastries or other recipes.

When is dark chocolate not fit for consumption?

Almost never! Dark chocolate that hasn’t been attacked by mould, which is immediately recognizable on the surface, can be consumed almost indefinitely.

Mould can appear if it has been stored in a damp environment (kitchen or cellar), if it has been in contact with liquids (e.g. a drink or syrup that has leaked in a cupboard) or in contact with fresh or slightly processed foods like fruit paste in a box of sweets.)

Why has my dark chocolate turned white? What can I do?

Dark chocolate with a layer of white film on the upper surface has been subjected to extreme or sudden temperature changes. The fats within have simply risen to the surface.

Dark chocolate with a slimy, whitish layer on one side or more is the result of being stored in an environment which is too humid. The sugar has started to melt and formed a thin, sticky surface.

In both cases, don’t panic! Taste a little bit and if it’s still good, eat it without hesitation.  If it’s a bit bland, use it for cooking.

In fact – how and where do I keep my dark chocolate?

Simply in a cool, dry place without any direct sunlight.  Technically speaking: in a cupboard, between 16-20 degrees Celsius with 56-60% humidity.

  • Never: In a fridge, freezer, or damp cellar
  • Why not: In a not so dry cellar, but in a container (like a Tupperware or aluminum box)
  • Ideally – In a cellar that isn’t damp, otherwise in a cupboard in the lounge (not in the kitchen because the temperature and humidity vary too much when you cook there)


And to end, with a little Fun-Fact:  You must know Amaury Guichon, the French-Swiss pastry and chocolate star with millions of followers.

Creator of a chocolate academy in Los Vegas and especially known for the incredibly large chocolate sculptures, his big dream is to open a museum with all his works.  And according to him, there is no problem of conservation: he estimates the life-span of these sculptures, made out of pure dark chocolate, to be an incredible 25 years!