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What is White Chocolate?

(Editor’s Note: What is white chocolate? A lie? An oxymoron like meatless ham or sugarless candy? Gayle Harte, founder of Gayle’s Chocolates, explains!)

QuestionIs white chocolate a lie?

Gayle: There is no chocolate in white chocolate. It’s just cocoa butter, sugar, and milk.

Question: Why is it called white chocolate then?

Gayle: For years you couldn’t call it white chocolate…

Question: Really?

Gayle: Yes, you couldn’t call it white chocolate because it was unlawful. That’s because there is no chocolate. Then finally the FDA said it was okay.

Question: Why was it suddenly okay to use the term white chocolate?

Gayle: The FDA made an exception. If it contained real cocoa butter, you could call it white chocolate. The FDA changed its mind for convenience sake, for communications purposes. Consumers called it white chocolate, so it would be confusing to consumers if we called it by a different name.

Question: Are there any other differences between white chocolate and regular chocolate?

Gayle: Well, there’s no caffeine in white chocolate. But, there’s less caffein in regular chocolate than in coffee to begin with.

Question: So, once and for all, what is white chocolate and why is it not really chocolate?

Gayle: White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. It’s not considered chocolate because it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids. Cocoa solids are the the primary nutritional part of chocolate liquor.

(Note: When making white chocolate, you remove cocoa solids and unlike conventional chocolates – semi-sweet, milk, and dark – and never recombine them. So white chocolate doesn’t have the nutrients and the antioxidants of real chocolate.)

What is White Chocolate: Final Thoughts

(Editor’s postscript: After hearing Gayle, we did a bit more research. In 2004, the FDA began allowing companies to use the term “white chocolate” in marketing if the product met certain metrics. The current FDA white chocolate guidelines are as follows: “white chocolate must be (by weight) at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% total milk solids, and 3.5% milk fat, and no more than 55% sugar or other sweeteners.”)

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