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White Chocolate? C'mon, what's up with that?

I got some chocolate the other day for a holiday present (work related). Some of the chocolate was..... arghhh..."white chocolate". I use quotes because it's NOT CHOCOLATE! What's up with that! It's fake, ersatz, nada, niente, no good. How could someone ruin a nice gift idea by including that stuff. I've heard tell that there are some people that actually like it (?) but I've never met any. It's not like chicory coffee, that has a unique taste and style of it's own, or soy milk that has an extensive history and health benefits. This stuff is just ....yuck! Can anyone justify it's existence? I promise to listen with an open mind (but closed palate). Thanks

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  1. Imagine separating the cocoa butter (fat) from the rest of the chocolate. That 'rest' is cocoa powder. White chocolate is the cocoa butter plus sugar. So it has the texture and sweetness of chocolate, but not the color and complex flavor. There is legitimate place for white chocolate.

    I remember my mom was partial to almond bark, which usually used white chocolate. White chocolate is also used alongside dark chocolate in sculptures, for the color contrast.

    6 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      I like it. Especially with coconut like the Lindt bars. Mmm....

      Any food's existence can be justified. It's food.

      1. re: paulj

        Thanks. I didn't know how white chocolate was made, or that it was even related to a "real" chocolate product. I always thought it was a lab product like non-dairy "coffee mate" .

        1. re: paulj

          Cocoa butter plus sugar plus milk powder. Of course, lesser brands use vegetable oils instead of cocoa butter.

          1. re: babette feasts

            I had a cookie recipe that called for it, rugelach with cranberry orange filling, and got Trader Joes brand chips. Not bad. When I was a kid, I only liked white chocolate, I bet it used to taste like this back then.

            1. re: babette feasts

              If they use vegetable oil, then it is completely fake. This is the reason for all those awful 'white chocolate' products out there.

              1. re: babette feasts

                A good white chocolate is heavenly, a bad one is like chewing on a stick of hardened crisco. I generally pass on white chocolate unless it is one of the better brands of chocolate (Lindt, Guittard etc.)

            2. I don't really like white chocolate either. It's not bad, it's just incomplete. Cocoa butter is there, but it is missing the very flavorful cocoa.

              1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/394007

                obviously there's a market for it or it wouldn't still be made and sold. and some of your fellow Hounds are among those who buy it, bake/cook with it, and consume it...

                http://tiny.cc/ns5xl
                http://tiny.cc/2dnby

                oh, and as for your claim that "It's not like chicory coffee, that has a unique taste and style of it's own," actually, it's *exactly* like chicory in that sense.

                9 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  GHG, and paulj - thanks for the thread and info on white chocolate. I am more open to the idea of white chocolate now and would like to try the "real" stuff, made from coco butter, to see if it tastes anything at all or similar to brown chocolate. I do tend to get carried away on certain issues and I guess "real" chocolate sparked that somewhat irrational flame. But it was interesting and funny to read the last post on that thread that asked "is eating steak fat the same as eating steak". He or she has a point. As for chicory coffee, I thought the chicory plant is used in place of coffee beans to make a roasted brew for non caffeine drinkers. In fact I used to drink "Roastaroma" from Celestial Seasonings as a morning brew that was made from chicory. However, I think in New Orleans there's a brew that's made from chicory and coffee and is called, oddly enough "Chicory Coffee". I think I even had down there a few times. Whatever.
                  My new years resolution is to be more open minded :)

                  1. re: catspercapita

                    so glad you decided to open your mind to the possibilities :) it doesn't mean we expect you to fall in love with it, it's just nice when we make the effort to understand why others enjoy something! and i must confess, i was anti-white chocolate for a long time when i was younger, until i had a chance to try the good stuff. it still doesn't appeal to me for snacking out of hand, and it will never *replace* my beloved dark chocolate, but i do enjoy it as a component of some recipes...i particularly enjoy it with flavors that offer a counterpoint to its sweetness, such as tart or acidic fruits like cranberries, lemon, lime and grapefruit.

                    as far as brands, i agree with amyzan that you can't go wrong with Callebaut or Icoa. El Rey is good too. you might also like Green & Black's because it's a bit less sweet.

                    and yes, in NOLA they do sometimes blend chicory and coffee beans to make chicory coffee :)

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      We were quite different kids, GHG. I thought of white chocolate as the cream of the cacao bean and regular chocolate as the milk, or even worse, skim milk. Nowadays I can enjoy a bit of chocolate now and again, but it will never take the place of a luscious and smooth piece of white chocolate. I suppose that's why you're the Good Health Gourmet and I'm the Gaining Weight Gourmand.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        ha! funny stuff...but you'd be surprised how much carob and dark chocolate i can put away ;)

                    2. re: catspercapita

                      The "real" white chocolate doesn't taste anything like chocolate. Even with the cocoa butter, it lacks the amazing, rich bitter-sweetness of actual chocolate. That comes from the cocoa powder. I personally extremely dislike white chocolate, as I think it is just chocolate, minus the best part. I am a chocolate fanatic, and I feel like white chocolate is just a sad excuse.

                      1. re: kelseybnorris

                        Bet you eat cocoa powder by the spoonfull :)

                        By itself white chocolate isn't interesting, but it works in places where the bitterness of chocolate would get in the way (as in almond bark or coating strawberries).

                        1. re: kelseybnorris

                          I feel the same about milk chocolate, too. It's just dark chocolate for me.

                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Actually, it's exactly the opposite. White chocolate subtracts some of the original elements while Cajun coffee ADDS another element (coffee) to the original product. It was introduced to "extend" coffee when it was difficult to obtain.

                        1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                          i wasn't referring to the technical or scientific aspects of production, merely the concept that it's an *alternative* to the traditional.

                          i used to drink brewed chicory on occasion, and it wasn't about replacing coffee for me or saying that one was better than the other. in fact, i don't see why anyone would do a direct comparison - it was just a different option in terms of flavor (and yes, as you pointed out, a caffeine-free option).

                      3. I love it.

                        If you don't, don't eat it. Give it to someone who will.

                        DT

                        1 Reply
                        1. White chocolate is the only chocolate that doesn't give me migraines. I remember dark and milk chocolate from my younger, less sensitive years, and yes, white chocolate does not compare. At all. It has to be appreciated on its own merits, (which are fewer.) Callebaut and Icoa are better than many other brands, IMO. I like to add matcha powder or caramelize white chocolate, to make the flavor more complex and cut the cloying sweetness. It's also good as an addition to cream cheese frosting or buttercream. David Lebovitz has some interesting uses for white chocolate at his blog, and I use Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipes for the frostings.

                          Personally, if I could eat dark chocolate without horrible three day headaches requiring drugs, I would likely eat very little white chocolate. But, white chocolate is the only chocolate for me. It's better than pain.

                          23 Replies
                          1. re: amyzan

                            have you identified the component of chocolate that triggers your migraines? is it phenylethylamine?

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I have no idea, ghg, sorry. How would I figure that out?

                              1. re: amyzan

                                It's great stuff when eaten with Cranberries.

                                1. re: amyzan

                                  normally with things like this you have to do a "challenge" with other foods that are also high in the suspected culprit to see if you react...but chocolate and blue-green algae are actually the only naturally-occurring food sources of PEA, so i guess you could pop a couple of algae capsules & see if they trigger one.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Thanks for the info. I haven't eaten algae since, well, it's been at least ten years. There was a time when I ate spirulina in smoothies...but I was also eating dark chocolate then!

                                  2. re: amyzan

                                    It could be the caffeine. I have headaches and my Meniere's syndrome which are caused by several factors, mainly stress, caffeine and sodium. I had to cut everything, then let it back in exclusively, one at a time. Sadly, both edibles cause my symptoms!

                                    And, sadly, caffeine and sodium are pretty common for causing headaches.

                                    I ended up cutting everything, then let caffeine in slowly, first chocolate, then tea, then stronger tea, then coffee. No coffee for me! Then, I cut everything out again and started in with the salt. You could do this with caffeine and then again with the phenylethylamine.

                                    I hope that helps!

                                2. re: amyzan

                                  I learned about adding matcha to white chocolate from you last year--it is such a perfect combo! Beyond your amazing zen bites, I dipped cherries in matcha/white chocolate this summer. I even converted a hater by doing so. :)

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Agree! I would make matcha white chocolate chips out of them, and keep a stash for snacking. I used to have some commercial ones made that way from my childhood. Now, a bag of that would make a cute and unique holiday gift, don't you think?

                                    1. re: vil

                                      Very! But only for the lovers on this thread--and in the world--not the haters. ;)

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        That just means there are more for us :)

                                    2. re: kattyeyes

                                      Ooo, dried sour cherries? That sounds inspired! Will have to try that...

                                      1. re: amyzan

                                        Actually, no, cherries fresh from the orchard...but dried tart Michigan cherries and white chocolate works for me, too. I think the cherries first took a little soak in something alcoholic, (the rest are still in the fridge).

                                    3. re: amyzan

                                      I love matcha and white chocolate together! I'd kill for a Matcha KitKat. Alas, it's seasonal and only available in Japan.

                                      There was also a white chocolate bar in the 80's that I loved . . . I think it was called Alpine White?

                                      1. re: Eat.Choui

                                        Nestlé made the Alpine White bars - i loved the one with almonds!

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Sweet dreams you can't resist: N-E-S-T-L-E-S. Gotta have Faith!
                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfIuST...

                                          I'm surprised others haven't figured out the deliciousness that IS matcha + white chocolate. If it exists in Japan, even seasonally, it'll get here eventually, I suppose.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Back in the 60s when I was a kid, my favoritest candy bar was Zero, which had a few different nuts in it and white chocolate fudge coating. I'm sure they're long gone, and doubt they would still taste all that good anway. I noticed yesterday that Nestles has "premium" white chocolate chips, wonder if they're as good as the Trader Joe ones I picked up for Christmas cookies.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              They still have Zero bars. I haven't had one for a long time though. We used to eat them frozen in the summertime.

                                              1. re: wekick

                                                I'm going to keep my eyes out for them then. The Hershey website seemed to indicate they were made from 1920 to 1996, but now I see that's actually when they took over making it.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  I know I've seen them at gas stations this past summer. We were on the road quite a bit so not sure where, but you can get them on line.
                                                  http://www.candy.com/Hersheys-Zero-Ba...

                                              2. re: coll

                                                I remember Zero bars were my favourite chocolate bar for many years back in my time, although I mostly remember the dark ones. Got introduced and addicted to them when they were freely available at the office pantry.

                                                1. re: vil

                                                  Zero bars are still sold in the (frequently replenished) vending machine at my workplace.

                                            2. re: Eat.Choui

                                              Check Mitsuwa for the green tea/white chocolate KitKat.

                                              1. re: Eat.Choui

                                                I don't know if this is something you want to hear, but I recently tried one of the matcha KitKats and it was very nice. My cousin does a lot of international business and he received a case of those KitKats from some Japanese associates. We cracked one open over the Christmas break - really, really good. I am not a fan of most white chocolate (I only like when you can really taste the cocoa butter, like with Amedei, Cluizel and Valrhona), but the matcha is definitely front and centre, in a good way. It was surprisingly delicious and tasted exactly how I had wanted it to (not too sweet!). Each stick was also individually wrapped, which was a nice touch.