Food & Alcohol

Published on February 13th, 2014


Does White Chocolate Deserve to be Called Chocolate?

When you sit down to savor the delicious bonbons you receive for Valentine’s Day, know this: white chocolate is neither white, nor chocolate. In reality, a better name for this confectionary delight would be ivory cocoa butter, but that sounds more like body wash than something you’d eat.

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. These seeds contain a fat known as cocoa butter. To make chocolate – the real chocolate – the cocoa butter is extracted from the seeds leaving behind a product known as chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is then processed, other ingredients are added, and presto, you have chocolate.

As for white chocolate, it is made only with the cocoa butter. Chocolate liquor is not used, which means white chocolate is really made from cacao vegetable fat only. And as a result, white chocolate doesn’t contain any of those antioxidant properties that we use as an excuse to eat chocolate.

All that said, in 2002, the FDA defined white chocolate as having a minimum of 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, and no more than 55% sweetener. But don’t think that white chocolate has less fat than regular chocolate, because it doesn’t. White chocolate has a fat content equal to and sometimes higher than that of other chocolate. Of all the chocolates, it also has the shortest shelf life, so make sure you sniff to ensure it’s not rancid before you buy it.

Now that you’ve been convinced that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate after all, let’s move on to the other issue with the nomenclature – the term “white.” The key ingredient in white chocolate – cocoa butter – means that the chocolate will never be white. Real white chocolate is always ivory. Any chocolate that is pure white likely means that its main ingredient is vegetable fat, not cocoa butter.

So in conclusion, despite the fact that your bonbon is neither white nor chocolate, enjoy it because, no doubt, it’s delicious.

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