The Dessert Dispute: Is White Chocolate Really Chocolate?

A little girl enjoying a chocolate bar

How do you like your chocolate — dark, milk, or white? If you answered ‘white’, you might find yourself at odds with traditionalist chocolate connoisseurs.

White chocolate, in the strictest sense of the word, is not chocolate. Its main ingredients consist only of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. Unlike dark and milk chocolates, white chocolate lacks cocoa solids, powder, or liquor. Its only cacao bean-derived ingredient — and the reason white chocolate is still considered a type of chocolate — is cocoa butter or the fatty by-product of chocolate production.

Into the Light and Away from the Dark

High-quality white chocolate isn’t white, as its name suggests, but tends to be yellowish due to cocoa butter’s natural colour. This lack of cocoa solids creates the distinctly different taste of white chocolate. Meanwhile, the addition of milk is what gives white chocolate its smooth and creamy or buttery texture.

Justanotherslice.com, a London-based gluten-free bake shop, notes that a white chocolate-based batter bakes to a different density, as well. The melt-in-your-mouth consistency makes white chocolate a popular ingredient in candies, desserts, and baked goods.

It may be snubbed by chocolate purists, but white chocolate isn’t without its merits. And it can’t be denied that consumers find in it something that dark chocolate cannot provide.

A Blank Canvas for Flavour

White chocolate may barely taste like dark or milk chocolate, but its sweet and rich base makes it a great match for desserts and a perfect canvas for additional flavours.

Flavourings, which range from regular nuts and fruits to more exotic additions like matcha, beer hops, chilli, or curry, shine more when mixed with white chocolate. After all, the strong and bitter cocoa taste of dark chocolate tends to overpower other additions. White chocolate’s sweetness matches well with savoury flavourings as it balances the overall taste.

White chocolate may not be considered a real chocolate based purely on the ingredients. Despite this, it’s still a well-loved sweet and is an important ingredient for bakers and chocolatiers.