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Is white chocolate even real chocolate?

Is white chocolate real chocolate

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Content of this blog

A controversial question

It seems like there are two groups of people: those who like white chocolate and those who don't. Ever since white chocolate first appeared on the market, there has been the question, "Is white chocolate real chocolate or not?" In this blog, we dive deeper into the world of white chocolate: from its composition and history to the different varieties and the production process. So that after reading this blog, you can answer the question, is white chocolate real chocolate?

Composition and properties

White chocolate consists mainly of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. Although white chocolate does not contain cocoa mass, it does contain cocoa butter, which also comes from the cocoa bean. In fact, about 50% of the weight of a cocoa bean consists of cocoa butter. The absence of cocoa mass means that white chocolate does not have a classic chocolate flavour, but rather a creamy and sweet taste. It also gives white chocolate its characteristic ivory-coloured appearance. In the Netherlands, according to the Commodities Act, white chocolate must contain at least 20% of cocoa butter; and at least 14% of dry milk solids, including at least 3.5% of milk fat.

Cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder the components of white chocolate

History of white chocolate

Like the question of whether white chocolate is real chocolate, the genesis of white chocolate remains debatable. In a number of recipes in Swiss cookbooks from the 1860s, white chocolate is used. But these entries refer to white baking chocolate, which was most likely used for coatings and pastries. However, this does confirm that a form of white chocolate was known for at least 70 years before it was sold commercially, but not yet in the solid form of a bar, simply because powdered milk did not exist back then.

Official registration of white chocolate

The only fact agreed on regarding the history of white chocolate is that Nestlé was the first to mass-market white chocolate bars in 1936 and officially registered the bars. But white chocolate was actually on the market before that - we just don't know exactly when. Globally, white chocolate seems to have been discovered sometime during the First World War. After and during World War I, US soldiers told stories of a strange white chocolate they had discovered in Europe.

Varieties and innovations

Besides the classic white chocolate, several variants have also appeared on the market, such as "blonde" chocolate. There are also versions with added flavours such as raspberry, lemon or matcha, highlighting the versatility and creativity of chocolatiers. The popularity of vegan alternatives is also growing, with brands using plant-based milk powders instead of dairy.

Classic white

Classic white chocolate consists of cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder.

Quality features:

  • Colour: the colour of this chocolate ranges from light ivory to light gold.
  • Flavour: white chocolate made from unrefined cocoa butter has subtle flavour notes, which nevertheless linger for a long time, even when the chocolate is already finished
  • Texture: this type of chocolate should not feel greasy in your mouth

Caramelised or roasted white

For this type of white chocolate, milk is heated until caramelised. This gives the chocolate a delicious toasted and syrupy flavour.

Quality features:

  • Colour: the colour of this chocolate is often golden and resembles fudge
  • Texture: this type of chocolate should not feel sticky in your mouth

White chocolate with additives

Additives, solid 'pieces' that provide extra flavour, colour and/or texture are incorporated into this type of chocolate. What is used for this varies from dried fruits, nuts, flowers or, for example, caocanibs.

Quality features:

  • The additives should add value to the flavour notes of the white chocolate, they should not overpower the subtle flavour notes
  • Texture: this type of chocolate should not feel greasy in your mouth

Quality and purchase

When buying white chocolate, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the ingredients. Many commercial variants use deodorised cocoa butter and add vanilla or other flavourings to enhance the taste. This can lead to a very sweet and sometimes artificial taste.
Good quality white chocolate is made with non-deodorised cocoa butter. While this won't almost never be written on the packaging, we recommend you choose white chocolate that has a higher cocoa butter content, as this is usually a good sign.

White chocolate for all

White chocolate has carved its own niche in the world of sweets. Despite lacking the deep flavours of dark chocolate, it offers a creamy and versatile base loved by chocolatiers and consumers alike. With its rich history and varieties, white chocolate is more than just a sweet; it is a delicate and sophisticated product that continues to evolve and surprise. Whether you are a lover of the classic flavour or curious about the innovative varieties, white chocolate is sure to have something for everyone.

White chocolates with different origins

Is white chocolate real chocolate?

In our eyes, white chocolate is real chocolate. It differs from other types of chocolate because it does not contain cocoa mass, but it does contain cocoa butter. A cocoa bean consists of more than 50% of cocoa butter and is essential in making white chocolate.
In addition, we think white chocolate in general has gained a bad reputation because cheaper fats, a lot of sugar and synthetic vanilla are often added to the chocolate in addition to cocoa butter, as the taste and mouthfeel do not benefit in our eyes.

Find out for yourself!

We invite you to try different bars of white chocolate from various chocolate makers. You might just like to bake with one chocolate, pair another with your favourite whisky and a third prefer to eat like this. Curious about a recipe with white chocolate? Try our recipe for the tastiest white chocolate mousse. Discover the nuances and unique flavour profiles each bar offers, and decide which is your favourite.

Choco-ology

Rebecca and Marianne, The Chocolate Girls. They are the craft chocolate experts and owner of this online sustainable chocolate shop.

Want to know what bean-to-bar chocolate is, how it is made and much more?
Read all about sustainable chocolate in our blogs.

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