Nothing is more exciting than finding an old bar of chocolate you had stashed away for a special occasion and forgotten about, especially when you have a bit of a chocolate craving!
However, that excitement can be cut down quickly when you unwrap the chocolate bar and find that it is covered in a white coating that looks unnervingly similar to mold.
Most of us would immediately throw this chocolate into the bin and not take the chance, as we are always told that mold can make you really sick.
But is it really mold on chocolate, and can you still eat it? Chocolate nearly never grows mold. That white layer you find on chocolate that has been stored for a while is called bloom, and it is caused by the sugar or the fat in the chocolate. It is completely safe to eat, and should not make you throw the chocolate away!
Bloom found on chocolate can seem chalky, and it might slightly change the taste of the chocolate, but it is not bad for you, and you can still eat the chocolate.
If you are still hesitant to eat your white-spotted chocolate, keep reading to find out more!
How To Tell If Chocolate Is Moldy
It is very difficult for chocolate to grow mold, as the chocolate bars that we buy from the store do not have enough moisture to support the growth of mold.
Chocolate is dry and pretty moisture-free, which is the opposite of what mold and bacteria need to thrive.
However, you might still see a white, chalk covering on the chocolate that you left in the pantry for too long, and while this may look very similar to mold, it is very different and is called bloom.
Bloom occurs when chocolate is exposed to varying temperatures or external moisture, which is why the bloom only really affects the outside of the chocolate.
This bloom is caused by either the sugar or the fat in the chocolate crystalizing, which causes the off-white chalk coating or dots that the chocolate develops.
The one time that people notice mold on chocolate most often when they hand-make chocolate at home and use wet ingredients. This could happen with homemade truffles or similar chocolate delicacies that have a wetter consistency.
This will not happen with store-bought chocolate bars though, as these are usually very dry and free from moisture.
Why Is My Chocolate White?
The most likely reason that your chocolate has turned white is due to bloom, which is a very common phenomenon that happens with chocolate that has been exposed to external moisture or a change in temperatures.
There are two types of bloom, which means there are two different reasons your chocolate might develop a white coating.
The first is a sugar bloom, and the second is fat bloom. Here is a little more about each, to put your mind at ease that it isn’t mold!
Sugar bloom happens when the chocolate comes into contact with external moisture.
This then causes the sugar crystals on the surface of the chocolate bar to dissolve, which then appears as a white chalky residue on the surface of the chocolate.
Fat bloom happens when chocolate is not tempered properly, or when it is stored in conditions where the temperature changes fairly drastically.
The bloom caused by fat appears very similar to sugar bloom, but has a little more of a grey tinge and is quite powdery.
Most fats are fine at different temperatures, but cocoa butter stays solid at room temperature, so when it is exposed to a higher temperature, it will melt and then solidify back to an improper state, and then develop the white layer on top.
Is It Really Mold On Chocolate?
While it is very, very rare, there is a chance that chocolate might grow mold.
Most of the time, the white layer you notice on chocolate is either sugar bloom or fat bloom, but there are some special cases where chocolate might actually grow mold.
One way that chocolate might grow mold is if the cocoa beans that were used to make the chocolate were moldy before processing.
Cocoa, the main ingredient used to make chocolate, is harvested and then processed to make chocolate.
Most reputable chocolate brands pay a high price for good quality cocoa beans, but some don’t, and sometimes things slip through the cracks, and moldy cocoa beans might have been used to make your chocolate.
This would likely give your chocolate an off taste which you would notice straight away, and if left to sit, the chocolate might actually grow mold over time, although this is unlikely.
In other very unlikely cases, mold can be caused by bad packaging or pathogens to which the chocolate has been exposed to during packaging.
Other things added to chocolate, such as fruit or nuts, can also be a reason that mold might be present.
If you are ever unsure, it is safer to throw the chocolate away and buy a new bar!
Green Mold Vs White Mold On Chocolate
Green mold and white mold are the two most common colors of mold that you will find on food and growing in your home.
This does not mean that green mold and white mold are always the same types of mold, but the way the color develops is similar.
The biggest difference between green and white mold is what they prefer to grow on, with green mold preferring to grow on food, and white mold preferring to grow on plants or wood-based surfaces.
Green mold is the color mold you would most commonly see on fruit, as well as starch-heavy foods, typically bread. This mold, like others, needs moisture to grow and thrive, which is why fruit provides such a great environment for it.
If there were to be any mold on chocolate, whether it is from already moldy cocoa beans or bad packaging, then it would be green mold.
Always avoid eating this green mold, and rather throw the chocolate away to be safe.
What Does Moldy Chocolate Look Like?
Moldy chocolate would appear very similar to what you would expect it to –there would be signs of mold growing on the surface of the chocolate, most probably a green color.
This is very often confused with bloom, which is the white, chalky appearance that chocolate has when it has been exposed to different temperatures or external moisture.
It can be difficult to tell the two apart, with most people assuming that the white chalky film is mold, but most of the time, it is not mold growing on your chocolate and instead is just bloom.
Moldy chocolate will also have a funny taste or smell, not that you should take a bite of chocolate you think might be moldy.
While bloom and mold look similar, there is definitely a difference between them, and if it is white and fuzzy and growing off and above the surface of the chocolate, then it is mold.
If it is just a chalky layer on the surface of the chocolate, then it is probably just bloom.
How To Tell If Chocolate Is Gone Bad
It can be difficult to tell whether or not chocolate has gone bad, but there are some signs you can look for to determine if your chocolate is still okay to eat or not.
These are some of the things to look for and consider to decide whether or not you should eat that chocolate you found lying around, or if it is safer to throw it away and buy a new bar!
Sugar bloom can cause a white chalky layer on the surface of your chocolate, but this isn’t usually a big problem. It happens due to a change of temperature which has caused the sugars to crystalize.
This will cause your chocolate to have a white chalky surface, and might even give the chocolate a grainy texture. This does not make for the most pleasant eating experience, but it is still fine and safe to eat.
Similar to sugar bloom, fat bloom can cause a white-gray film on the surface of your chocolate. The cocoa butter fats have separated and risen to the surface, which causes a change in appearance.
This is still fine to eat and actually does not change the taste or texture of the chocolate too drastically.
Chocolate is one of those foods that absorbs the odor of anything close to it, which is really quite off-putting when your chocolate has been stored next to some strong-smelling savory foods!
If you notice a savory odor coming off your chocolate, and there are no other signs of spoiling, it should still be perfectly fine to eat.
However, if you notice that your chocolate is giving off a strange odor and it hasn’t been placed near any other strong-smelling foods, it could be a sign that it is passed its best-by date and you should throw the chocolate bar away.
Always make sure to check the best-by date of the chocolate you are wanting to eat.
Most of the time, it is absolutely fine to eat the chocolate beyond the best-by date, as it only means that the quality of the chocolate will not be as good as it should be, but this should not be too noticeable.
If there is an expiry date on the chocolate, you should pay attention to this, especially if the chocolate has other ingredients such as fruit, nuts, or caramel.
It is best to look for signs of spoiling if the chocolate you are wanting to eat has passed its expiry date.
While this should not be your go-to way to tell if suspicious food has spoiled, you should be able to tell straight away if the chocolate has gone bad by taste alone.
It is very unlikely and uncommon for chocolate to actually spoil, but if the chocolate has gone bad, it will have an off or rancid taste to it.
Sometimes this could also be an overpowering cocoa taste or flavors that you do not recognize.
Can I Scrape The Mold Off?
The white film you see on the surface of your chocolate is most likely fat bloom or sugar bloom, and this is perfectly fine to eat and you really do not need to try and remove it.
If the white chalky coating is really bothering you, you can temper the chocolate back down and place it in a mold to set.
This will remove this white film and give you normal-looking chocolate once again, but keep in mind that tempering chocolate more than once can alter the quality of taste.
For when there is actual mold on chocolate, you might be tempted to try and scrape it off and eat the rest of the chocolate.
It is never a good idea to try and eat food that has already gone moldy, and we will always recommend that you throw away food that has started to grow mold.
There are some people who don’t mind scraping the mold off of chocolate and eating the rest, and if the mold has not spread too far, and you are able to cut away all the mold, there should be little risk of foodborne illnesses.
Can Chocolate Bloom Make Me Sick?
How many chocolate bars have you thrown away because they had that white coating on the top? You might be disappointed to find out that you didn’t need to throw them away at all, and the chocolate was absolutely fine to eat!
It is always better to play it safe and not eat food you are unsure of, but going forward, if you notice this white coating on chocolate, you can be sure that it is fine to gobble down.
The bloom on chocolate will not make you sick or be harmful to you. However, you might notice a slight change in the texture of the chocolate, being a little bit grainer than usual.
The chocolate might also lose a little bit of its flavor, but once again, this is fine.
If you do not want to eat chocolate covered in bloom, you could always use it in recipes that call for chocolate, as once you melt the chocolate, this bloom disappears and the chocolate looks back to normal once again!
Mold On Chocolate
It is very unlikely that you will find actual mold growing on chocolate. While it is not impossible, most of the time that you see a white chalky film on the surface of your chocolate, it is caused by fat or sugar bloom, not mold.
Chocolate does not provide a good environment for mold to grow, which is great because it means chocolate doesn’t often go off, and even if it has a white bloom surface, the chocolate will still be absolutely okay to eat!
Now that we’ve gone over what to do if you find mold on chocolate, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Should you store chocolate in the fridge?
Whether or not you should store chocolate in the fridge is quite a contested subject in most homes! There is no clear answer to this. If your home provides a cool, constant temperature, there is no reason to store chocolate in the fridge.
If the temperature in your home fluctuates often, it is a better idea to keep chocolate in the fridge. It is worth noting that chocolate stored in the fridge can develop bloom.
Can you save chocolate that has turned white?
If you do not want to eat your chocolate that now has a white coating, you can melt it down and mold it again. This helps to reincorporate the fat in the chocolate again and will remove all the white bits on the surface.
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