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What’s the Difference Between Low Quality White Chocolate and High Quality White Chocolate?

If you said there’s isn’t one! then you’re one of those extreme chocolate snobs of the kind I’m married to, and right now you’re recoiling before this photo like a vampire before a sunrise. It burns! It burns! But that’s a nice question, reader Walter! Let’s get to it.

The main difference between a high quality white chocolate and a lower quality white chocolate is the percentage of cocoa butter the chocolate contains. Of course other factors play into it: the care with which it’s formulated and processed and so on. However if I had to boil it down to any one thing, cocoa butter would be it. Cocoa butter what makes the difference between a silky chocolate and waxy chocolate. Lower quality chocolates have some cocoa butter — chocolates without at least a little can’t legally be labeled “chocolate” in the US — however they can contain other types of fats, like palm oil. 

Which raises the question: what’s the difference between palm oil and cocoa butter? Mainly melt point. Cocoa butter is famous for its low melt point, which is just below body temperature. It’s also famous for its “sharp” melt point, which is a related quality. A sharp melt point means an almost instantaneous change of phase from solid to liquid.

In general, solids that are more uniform in their composition are the ones with the sharpest melt points. Palm oil is composed of dozens of different types of lipids, all of which have different melt points, some low, some high. As a result it takes a fair amount of time, once the palm oil is heated, before all the various lipids melt completely. Cocoa butter likewise has several different lipids in it, however its composition dominated by just three of them, and they all melt right around 91 degrees. Put cocoa butter in your mouth and boom, it immediately starts to run. 

So while lower quality white chocolate does have its uses, if you just wanted to eat some, you’re better off with a higher quality item. Not only will it probably taste better, you’ll tend to savor each morsel as the cocoa butter melts, coats your mouth and tongue, and extends the sensory experience. Thanks for the question, Walter!

2 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between Low Quality White Chocolate and High Quality White Chocolate?”

  1. I’m gonna try that bostock. Are you gonna post a picture? I remember buying a slice of bostock many, many years ago from Amy’s Bread on 9th Avenue. I had no idea what it was at the time, but it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten.

    Aside from that, wanted to tell you that Michael Solomonov from Zahav Restaurant is doing a weekly digital series on Israeli food. The first episode was tonight. In truth I didn’t think it was so hot, but somewhere around 25 minutes in he talks about about what really speaks to him as Israeli food. His choice? Borekas. Thought you might enjoy that.

    This is the link for tonight’s episode, I don’t know if you can still replay it.

    It will be running for 16 weeks, Wednesdays at 8 PM EST. In all honesty I can’t imagine what he’s going to do for 16 weeks but I’ll probably watch from time to time. (Mostly it strikes me as promotional, and it turns me off.)

    Tonight he made chicken and a pilaf in carrot juice. He used “pilaf” as a verb. He’s pilaffing the rice. Oh, please. But the recipe did look nice. The series is done together with the Jewish Food Society, which I never heard of but I’m checking it out.

    That was a lot of words, sorry. What I really wanted to tell you about was the borekas. ;>

    I hope all is going well with you and your family.

    1. Hey Chana!

      I also didn’t know that pilaf was an action verb. Very interesting!

      I’ll check out the series if I get the chance, it sounds like fun.

      And I will do Bostock sometime soon, I hope in the next few days, weather and circumstances permitting!

      Cheers and thanks as always for checking in!


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