What’s “Chocolate” About White Chocolate?

Good question, reader Leeza. Pretty much nothin’. White chocolate has zero cocoa solids, which are the essence of chocolate flavor. The only thing that comes from the cocoa pod that’s found in white chocolate is cocoa butter, which has no flavor of its own (sometimes it does have a residual chocolate smell, though the type you find in most bars has been deodorized).

It does however possess one highly desirable quality: a melting point that’s just below body temperature. That melt point is what normally gives high quality chocolates their silky, dissolve-on-the-tongue texture. It’s also why cocoa butter body rubs melt on contact with skin. But then what if cocoa solids aren’t your thing? Cocoa butter can be just as easily employed to deliver the sweet sensation of sugar and milk solids, which aside from the cocoa butter is pretty much all white chocolate is.

I’ve often wondered why white chocolate is permitted to be called “chocolate” at all. Though in fact in many countries it isn’t. Here in the States it’s only been recently that “white chocolate” became a permanent candy classification. Prior to a few years ago candy companies were only allowed to market white chocolate as “chocolate” via temporary permits (presumably while the FDA made up its mind as to whether it could be called “chocolate” or not). Finally in 2004 they decided in favor of giving white chocolate permanent status as a confection.

3 thoughts on “What’s “Chocolate” About White Chocolate?”

  1. Very cool. I was just thinking about the whole white chocolate debate. I’m working on wedding cupcakes and was wondering if maybe I could find “white chocolate” powder (like a distant cousin to cocoa powder) to concoct my own super vanilla-white chocolate cakes. I guess that’s a big no.
    Thanks for the info. Just found your site, too — it’s awesome. I’m kind of obsessed with baking, so I’ll be checking back often.

    1. Please do, Chloee! Very nice that you stopped by. I’m always around to answer questions!

      – Joe

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