December 6, 2012, by Recovering Chocoholic
Is White Chocolate Really Chocolate?
You know what I love about chocolate? Haha, trick question, the answer to that is obviously “EVERYTHING!” Well, everything except for two things, that is. I don’t like that once you eat the chocolate that you have it’s gone forever. How sad! We should really be focusing on inventing a bottomless, permanent chocolate. (Note to inventors: If anyone wants to run with my “invent permanent chocolate idea” just let me know, we’ll make billions!)
The other thing I don’t like about chocolate? The white variety of it, aka “white chocolate”. Ugh, I do not like that stuff. It’s waxy and sweet and just not satisfying, like real chocolate.
I dislike white chocolate so much that I seem to find myself thinking about it all of the time. You know how that goes. But lately I’ve been wondering, is it really chocolate? Perhaps it’s a chocolate imposter that’s sullying the good name of honest to goodness chocolate? Maybe the name should really be white “chocolate”?
Or maybe it is real chocolate and just a little different? I don’t know, but I’d like to find out. Ladies and Gentleman, in this corner of the ring we have “It’s Chocolate” and in the other “Not Chocolate.” Let’s watch them go head to head and see who comes out on top.
What Does Wikipedia Say?
For the first round of our battle royale, let’s begin in the most sensical place, the Wikipedia entry for white chocolate. Interestingly, the very first line of the entry states that “white chocolate is a chocolate derivative.” Huh. So it’s a copy of chocolate, but not chocolate? I mean, if it were just a different variety of chocolate, wouldn’t that read “White chocolate is a white version of chocolate” or “White chocolate is a varietal in the chocolate family”? In fact, the Wikipedia entry never takes a stand on the chocolate issue beyond that statement. Let’s chalk one up in the “Not Chocolate” column. On to round 2.
What Do the Ingredients Say?
For round two, a comparison of ingredients seems like a good way to go. White chocolate is essentially made of the same ingredients as regular chocolate–cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and salt—except that it lacks cocoa solids. The cocoa solids are what give regular chocolate its characteristic brown coloring. Since white chocolate doesn’t have any of these solids, it is instead a pale yellow or an ivory color. The fact that chocolate and white chocolate only differ by one ingredient makes me lean towards “It’s Chocolate.” It’s 1-1, folks, this is a close one.
But Wait…Cocoa Solids?
For round three, it seems pertinent to look into what exactly those “cocoa solids” are. According to Wikipedia, they are the “low fat component of chocolate.” They are combined with cocoa butter and voila, chocolate! Furthermore, cocoa solids are the part of the cocoa bean that contains all of the caffeine, theobromine—an alkaloid that promotes heart and vascular health, and flavonoids—which fight against stroke and heart disease.
Basically, cocoa solids are what imbue chocolate with its health benefits and make it more than just a sugary treat. Yet white chocolate doesn’t have any of those. I’m going to have to give this round to “Not Chocolate.”.
What do Bellies Say?
For the fourth round, I thought it would be fair to put white chocolate up for a taste challenge. Problem is, I know that I am a bit biased, being a white chocolate despiser and all. To be fair, I searched the web for reviews of products that are made with both a regular and white chocolate component to see which the people prefer.
I settled on Lindt’s truffles, since people love both types, and found that people absolutely love both the white chocolate and regular chocolate candies. Yet, white chocolate has more 5 star ratings than the chocolate. I might not like white chocolate, but other folks obviously do. “Chocolate” takes this round. We have a tie going into the final round! I’m on the edge of my seat!
What do the Bakers Say?
For the final round, the round to answer this question once and for all, I thought we should consult some experts. And who is more of an expert than a person who works with the substance as regularly as a baker?
I went to Chowhound and looked around in the forums. What I found was that, over and over, the bakers there are in consensus that white chocolate “isn’t the same ingredient with a [different] flavor, it’s a [different] ingredient” than chocolate. They agree that you can’t substitute white chocolate for chocolate and that white chocolate is very different to bake with than chocolate. Folks, I think this means it’s time to declare a victor. In a last second surge of strength, “Not Chocolate” has come through for the win.
I guess that means we’re going to have to find something else to call white chocolate. What do you think? Leave your suggestions in the comments.