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Millions of Brits have been eating chocolate the wrong way – with putting it in the fridge the biggest “no no”, according to food experts.

Food scientist Natalie Alibrandi has revealed the top blunders people make when enjoying a sweet treat – including tucking into it at night, and eating too much in one go.

And chocolate should not be stored in the fridge, as humidity levels are too high.

Instead, the sweet spot in terms of optimum temperature was found to be 18°C.

The tell-tale signs your chocolate has been stored incorrectly include it lacking a sharp snap when you break a square off.

Poorly-tempered chocolate will also be crumbly, or melt too fast in your fingers.

Other perils of storing chocolate in the fridge are sugar blooms, oxidation, and transfers of taste and odour to the chocolate.

Despite this, a study of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Galaxy, found more than three-quarters (78%) confessed to storing their chocolate in the fridge.

The food expert also claims 11am is the best time to eat chocolate, as cacao contains caffeine and sugar, making it a good pick-me-up ahead of lunch – something one in five chocolate-lovers do.

Food scientist Natalie Alibrandi said: “Chocolate is a deep and complex delicacy, with many layers to be explored.

“Understanding the need for the chocolate to snap, both visually and aurally, brings a sensation that dances on your taste receptors and increases flavour.

“Eating chocolate earlier in the day with a fresh palate is also a key finding that many Brits will be surprised about, making it a good mid-morning snack choice to help keep us firing on all cylinders before lunch.”

The study also found Britain is a nation of chocoholics, with one in three (34%) scoffing chocolate daily – and 58% saying it’s their favourite treat.

But while 74% claimed to be “chocolate chewers”, according to experts, this will limit the duration of the sensorial experience.

Instead, you should allow chunks to melt in the mouth, so that the flavours can develop, giving a more indulgent experience.

In terms of portion size, the average Brit consumes four pieces per sitting (18%) – although 54% won’t stop eating the treat once they get started.

However, the expert recommendation is that six chunks is the optimum quantity, to provide your taste buds with the appropriate level of stimulation.

Seven chunks or more may result in less of a sensorial experience, as your senses can’t detect the subtle nuances of the chocolate.

It also emerged one in four (24%) ignore the aftertaste and go straight onto the next piece – although the advice is to resist the urge to dive in, and wait up to 15 minutes before going for a second piece.

And mixing different types of chocolate is another rookie error.

To help educate Brits on their choccy misdemeanours, Galaxy has teamed up with wine expert Olly Smith, to create a video explaining the “Ten Commandments of How to Eat Chocolate”.

The TV wine expert donned new robes as the chocolate messiah as he spoke about how to experience, explore, and enjoy chocolate as you would a fine wine.

Olly Smith said: “The similarities between chocolate and fine wine are as delightful as they are irrefutable.

“The aromas, textures, and complexities all lead to the ultimate tasting experience.

“Like a good wine, chocolate deserves your undivided attention – and things like a fresh palate, serving at the correct temperature, tasting in small quantities, and allowing the flavour to evolve for the recommended time (up to 15 minutes), are all equally important to engage all your senses, delivering peak enjoyment.”

Victoria Gell, from Galaxy chocolate, added: “With more than half of the UK stating chocolate is their favourite treat, we’re keen to share these tips to help create the ultimate indulgent pleasure experience.

“We want to help Brits understand the subtle nuances and characteristics of chocolate, while of course giving it the full respect it deserves.”

THE “TEN COMMANDMENTS OF HOW TO EAT CHOCOLATE”…

  1. Chocolate at Elevenses – Consume earlier in the day with a fresh palate for a great mid-morning caffeine boost to help power through until lunch
  2. Do not store in the fridge – Store chocolate at 18 degrees to prevent oxidation, sugar bloom, and any transfer of odours
  3. Let it melt, don’t chew – By letting it melt you’re allowing cocoa butter to coat your mouth, allowing you to experience all flavours
  4. Eat in small quantities – Eat up to six pieces of 4-gram portions to prevent overstimulation of the tastebuds
  5. Use all your senses – Sight, smell, texture, and even hearing is all part of the experience
  6. Make it snappy – When chocolate snaps, it means it is tempered correctly and has the right structure and quality
  7. No distractions – Chocolate has so many volatiles and nuances, give it as much attention as it deserves, this will boost the overall experience
  8. Unexpected pairings – Try sweet chocolate (milk or white) with bitter foods or bitter chocolate with saltier foods
  9. Wait for the aftertaste – Some chocolates can leave a 45-minute aftertaste, but in most cases a 15-minute wait will suffice
  10. Don’t mix – Mixing different types of chocolate can overstimulate tastebuds, so avoid mixing different types (e.g. milk and dark chocolate)