Chocolate forever.

I searched the board archives with the few words it would accept. I searched the ordinary dope archives. I did not find an answer (I cannot imagine that this question has not been answered. Maybe someone could answer with a link to where this was answered)

Why doesn’t chocolate go off?

(question raised when I found a 4 month old half bar of milkybar in a drawer, and ate it)

<< Why doesn’t chocolate go off? >>

Because the fuse was a dud.

OK, OK, there’s a difference between English English and American English. “Go off” in American English would mean “explode” while in British English is means what Americans would call “go bad.”

Chocolate will get stale eventually, but most candy has got so much preservative in it, that it could take a lonnnnnng time.

You learn something new every day.

‘Go off’ can mean explode in England too, but it more often means ‘go bad’

Chocolate does go bad, it just takes a long time.

A solid chocolate bar will turn white first. Why it turns white I don’t know, but it does. And it tastes stale when it’s white, as well.

Yeah, you made me think of exploding chocolate too.

And yes, chocolate does indeed go stale if you give it long enough. I have had mummified chocolate; it gets a whitish coating on it and tastes kinda flat and dry and, well, “off”!

I have been told that the white-staining of chocolate is due to the environmental conditions rather than the age.
Anyone who knows UK chocolate bars will know that the one I found is already white.

AFAIK the white “bloom” happens when chocolate gets is stored too warm. It’s caused by the fat (cocoa butter) migrating to the surface, and chocolate affected is still perfectly safe to eat. I agree that it does affect the taste, though.

If you’re talking “artificial” preservative, then most of it doesn’t, as the sugar is a great natural preservative.

Any really dry substance will keep a long time because bacteria needs water at least as much as it needs food (sugar, in this case). So sugar and honey don’t rot as long as they’re kept dry, and I’d imagine chocolate and flour and such would keep just as well if kept in the standard cool, dry place.

Life is about balance: Without water to balance the sugar, the little bacterium can’t get a foothold.

Dumb of me not to provide the link, always search the Archives:
Straight Dope Staff Report: What causes chocolate to whiten?

Is that really true?

I know that that’s what the staff report (linked to by our faithfull CK) claims, but let’s face it - It’s not written by Cecil. I don’t mean to say that Karen is unreliable, but her signature doesn’t carry the same clout as The Master.

I read recently in On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee, that the white bloom on chocolate is in fact crystalized sugar. What he claims happens is that water condenses on the chocolate surface, where it leaches out sugar from the interior. When the water evaporates again, the sugar forms opaque crystals.

I believe that the fact that this only happens if the chocolate is exposed to the atmosphere, would be in favour of the ‘sugar-crystal-hypothesis’, but I’d like to know the straight dope!

From the howstuffworks Chocolate FAQ

Although it should be intuitive, many people don’t realize that salt and suger are incredibly effective preservatives. Anything with a lot of sugar in it will not readilly spoil. Most candy, while it may harden with time, will not spoil because of the sugar content. A bottle of ketchup left on a diner table will take a long time to spoil because of the sugar. Jams and jelly’s don’t readilly spoil. If you want to preserve meat you throw lots of salt on it.

I guess we’re so used to thinking of preservatives at exotic chemicals that the efficiency of sugar and salt goes unnoticed. That’s another reason why those two tastes have become so predominent in our diets. Their effective use as preservatives have made them a part of many of the foods that are pleasing to the palate.

It doesn’t get stale? Try telling that to the long-hidden bag of chocolate chips in the pantry. Ugh. What a waste of chocolate.

I am terribly sorry to have brought the slightest shadow of doubt to bear on the highly respected staff member Karen. Further research shows that there are indeed two kinds of bloom, sugar bloom (caused by crystalised sugar, formed when the humidity is not properly controlled, by condensing/evaporating water) and fat bloom, caused mainly by storing at too high temperature.

To back this claim up, I refer to Nestlè:

And if that leaves anyone unconvinced, here is what the International Cocoa Organization has to say on the subject:

So, I’d say that we were both correct, and I regret having doubted the word of a staff member.