How long do unopened chocolates keep?

Something I’ve wondered about many times before and am wondering about again - how long does an unopened box of chocolates stay in a nice condition? I refuse to go near shopping centres in December (and don’t even much like the latter part of November) because of the crowds, but it would be nice to pick up a really nice box of chocolates or two as gifts. If I pick up a box or two now, will they still be “fresh” (however you define freshness for chocolates) by Christmas? What is the best way to keep them until I am ready to give them?

Chocolate lasts a very long time if kept in a cool dark place. Chocolates bought today would be just fine for Christmas giving, and probably could be given for Christmas in 2012.

In my experience, boxes of assorted chocolates have usually have a “best before date” on them that is at least six months after the purchase date.

The only exception, I imagine, would be hand-made cream-filled chocs. Standard shop-bought ones should be good for a long while.

Edit: as RealityChuck says, keep them in a cool, place out of direct sunlight. If they get warm they can get a white “bloom” on the surface. It doesn’t really affect the eating quality, but it spoils the look. (It’s just cocoa butter moving to the surface, IIRC.)

Thanks a bunch. Looks like some friends are getting chocolates for Xmas! :smiley:

If you check the box there should be a “Best Before” date on there, which is worth checking, both for reassurance and also to avoid having people say, “Uh, Canadjun, you know those chocolates you gave me… well they expired in November!”

I just opened a Snickers bar, standard wrapping, that was bought a year ago on the other side of the world; could not tell the difference. It had just been stored in the pantry at regular room temperature.

Some chocolates will go whitish over a year or two, not sure why. OTOH, items stored in just plastic can sometimes taste of plastic - I had a few chocolate cookies that were like that; but certainly not after a few months. We opened a box of Black Magic chocolates in June that were given to use for Christmas; plus we’re still getting through the odd nibble on Easter chocolate (candy-coated eggs) nowadays and it tastes fine.

Gotta start exercising one of these days.

According to Hershey’s, which is the American standard (yuck), chocolate keeps for about a year.

iirc, creme and higher up chocolate is good for 6 months, while the typical Hershey bar is good for up to 24. Technically, chocolate (the plain variety) is non perishable. It won’t harm you to eat old chocolate, but it may not taste great. Ah, reminds me of my grandma’s storage of old candies. <shudder>

The chocolates that come in a box that are ‘higher quality’ will be fine for Christmas.

besides…everyone likes FUDGE for Christmas! Buy good melting chocolate bars when they’re on sale and make fudge instead. Then PM me for my address. :smiley:

Depends on how much you’ll be spending.

See’a Candy says this

Godiva has even more stringent guidelines.

You can order them closer Christmas and avoid the mall entirely…

Thanks again guys. Regarding expiry dates - I don’t recall seeing them on Purdy’s chocolates, but then again I’ve never specifically looked for an expiry date. I’ll keep an eye out.

I accidentally performed an experiment this past (northern) summer with Dove Dark chocolate. I left several bags in the car on the floor of the passenger seat (out of direct sunlight). The chocolate was still subject to the interior heat caused by the Sun. Yes, the chocolate left in the car bloomed and discolored. More striking, however, was the flavor was considerably more pronounced (and enjoyable!) than identical Dove Dark that I had just purchased and even similarly “aged” Dove Dark that made it into the kitchen and stored in dark, cool places. Yes, yes, I know about the blooming as Colophon states.

I’ve since consumed all the chocolate performed in my accidental experiment. This thread reminds me I should formalize the experiment further. It will require considerable restraint as I must store chocolate of varying ages in the vehicle (subject to hot and cold) vs chocolate stored at home in cool dark places. I’m confident in my own abilities but not so sure I have sufficient hiding places at home to conduct a long-term study. Mrs. Duckster has very limited capabilities at dark chocolate restrainment.