What Is White Chocolate Anyway?

The funny thing about chocolate lovers is they all seem to have their own favorite poison. For some, milk chocolate melts their hearts. Others find that deep, dark chocolate that's almost a little bitter is more to their liking. Another class of confection people often swoon for is the creamy sensation that has earned the name white chocolate.

But, what is white chocolate anyway and where does it come from?

White chocolate isn't technically chocolate at all. Although it comes from the cacao bean just like its dark counterpart, this creamy, smooth creation is produced quite a bit differently. Rather than rely on the rich chocolate liquor for its creation, white chocolate leans heavily on the sinfully creamy cocoa butter than comes from the bean. Although both brown and white chocolate derive from the cocoa bean that is pretty much where their similarities stop.

The mellow, but delightfully smooth flavor of white chocolate comes almost entirely from cocoa butter. The more cocoa butter that goes into the mix, the higher grade the white chocolate is considered. Although it's called "white" chocolate, the higher quality variety tends to take on a beautiful ivory color thanks to its concentration of cocoa butter. Less expensive varieties tend to have an almost pure white cast due to other ingredients that go into the mix. Vegetable oils and other greasy liquids are used to make the white, white variety. Pure cocoa butter goes into the ivory and yellow-tinted gourmet creations.

Although white chocolate shares part of its name with the dark variety, this creation is not really considered chocolate at all. Since the chocolate liquor that is released from cocoa beans during their processing is not used in this confection, this creation does not count as "chocolate" in the eyes of food connoisseurs.

Beyond the color differences between gourmet white chocolate and lower quality varieties, fans might find a few other noticeable distinctions. Gourmet white chocolate tends to have a very slight vanilla flavor. The higher grade variety also tends to be a great deal creamier. The whiter, whites typically are a bit more grainy.

White chocolate is related to the deep rich darks and the smooth milk creations, but it stands alone in its coloration and the choice of ingredients that go in it. This variety is loved by many for its creamy, delicate taste that is as ideal for eating all on its own as it is for adding to cakes, cookies and other confections.

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