Making chocolate global warming proof

I probably do not have to tell you about the heatwave Europe is currently suffering from. Besides the probably heightened human death rate and general environmental damage I would like to review another less talked about arising issue: The influence of increased ambient temperatures on chocolate.

Caveat: I am no chocolate expert, not even a chemist but merely an interested chocolate consumer. Please correct me if necessary and give me tips if you have them.

The issue came to my attention last friday while indulging myself on a sweet called “Knoppers” made by “Storck”. One of the two large sides of the squared chocolate-nut dessert is covered in chocolate.

My office is located in a lovely old building. Just like many other German buildings it does not have air-conditioning. During the past week we rarely reached indoor ambient temperatures below 30°C with maximums of about 33°C.

The melting point of chocolate depends on ingredients and manufacturing process. Additionally the packaging can aid in making it more temperature-resistant.

I found a good overview over different chocolate melting points on Quora (2.) which nicely sums up other sources I read on this topic:

Type I - 63.1 F / 17.3 C

Type II - 73.9 F / 23.3 C

Type III - 77.9 F / 25.5 C

Type IV - 81.1 F / 27.3 C

Type V - 92.8 F / 33.8 C

Type VI - 97.7 F / 36.3 C

According to the answer on Quora and other sources (3.) your typical chocolate bar is made of Type V chocolate. This type of chocolate is created using a process called tempering. Tempering involves a constant interplay of cooling and slightly reheating the chocolate (4.) creating the texture commonly found in commercial chocolate bars.

I suspect that the chocolate layer of “Knoppers” is not tempered due to it not being a chocolate bar and my experience in handling the snack.

Heat-resistant chocolate has not been an important topic yet in the large chocolate markets of Europe and North America due to the mostly moderate temperatures enjoyed there. This might change now due to global warming.

In Africa or South-East Asia there are local manufacturers specifically advertising heat-resistant chocolate already (5.). Almost every major chocolate manufacturer seems to have experimented with the problem in the past:

  • Cadbury
  • Hershey
  • Mars
  • Barry Callebaut

So far there does not seem to be a standard process or ingredient besides tempering chocolate. Additionally there seems to almost no literature on chocolate packaging related to making it more temperature-resistant/isolative.

Questions for further research:

  • How do different kinds of cocoa beans influence heat-resistance?
  • Are there packaging experiences one could copy from other industries?
  • How much can the recipe be changed before chocolate looses its character?
  • How did people store chocolate before refrigeration was commonly available?
  • Who are the experts in this field?

Additional reading: