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White Chocolate: What’s in a Name?
Some of our favorite confections include white chocolate. Read on to discover what sets this ivory ingredient apart from your everyday chocolate.
It’s never been quite right to label white chocolate as “chocolate.” Technically, the confection doesn’t contain any solid parts of the cacao bean—a necessary component of chocolate proper. Yet white chocolate by any other name would still taste as sweet—if not sweeter—than its darker cousins. That’s because, though it lacks the solids that lend chocolate its bitter notes and rich aromas, white chocolate is still made with cocoa butter, along with dulcet blends of milk fats, vanilla flavors, and additional sweeteners.
Yet until 2002, white-chocolate producers sometimes would cut corners by substituting vegetable fats for the cacao essence. Then the FDA mandated that products labeled as "white chocolate" contain at least 20% cocoa butter, pacifying purists and solidifying the color white among the chocolate pantheon. Identified by its ivory shade, high-quality white chocolate often is used as a contrast to darker-chocolate desserts, but it also stands well on its own, whether whipped into a mousse or paired with delicate notes of lavender.