Is White Chocolate Really Chocolate?

We hear it all the time: “But white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, right?!” or “Yuck, I hate white chocolate– it’s so sweet and waxy and not really chocolate anyway.”

We understand this sentiment because there’s such a misconception about white chocolate. And we get it, most white chocolate does taste overly sweet and coats your tongue with an unpleasant stickiness. But as some of the only makers of real, authentic white chocolate–and also one of the first–we love discussing this topic and challenging people’s taste perceptions with a sample or two.

The FDA’s standard of identity for white chocolate* says that for a product to be considered white chocolate it must have a cocoa solids content of at least 20% and at least 14% milk. Because white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa liquor (the substance that consists of the ground cocoa beans), this means it must contain at least 20% cocoa butter. Spoiler alert: our white chocolate bars contain 34% cocoa butter (!!!).

What is cocoa butter? Glad you asked! It is the fat from the cocoa beans that is extracted from the liquor using a high-pressure press (nerdy chocolate trivia no one asked for: the by-product of this process is cocoa powder, which is also why we’re one of the few makers who offer a natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder for baking). This process is time-consuming and of course, can only be done if you have cocoa beans; thus, very few chocolate makers globally are actually pressing their own cocoa butter. It’s certainly not the cheapest or easiest way to make (white) chocolate, which is why most makers don’t do it. They purchase cocoa butter “equivalents” that, coupled with other cheap filler ingredients and lots of sugar, can give that waxy texture and too-sweet flavor. 

Askinosie White Chocolate Bar

We are proud that we press our own cocoa butter–and not just for white chocolate, but for all of our other chocolate bars, too. We’ve been doing this since the very beginning. It’s what makes our chocolate “100% single origin” meaning the cocoa liquor and the cocoa butter are from the same crop of beans from the same origin, thereby highlighting the terroir of those beans and that region. 

Pressing our own cocoa butter means that we can make a delicious, single origin, authentic white chocolate. We use goat’s milk as our dairy, lending the bars a unique slightly tangy flavor. The only other ingredient is organic, non-GMO certified cane sugar. We make two white chocolate bars: Original and Nibble, in which we add roasted cocoa nibs to the back of the bar for added flavor and crunch.

Askinosie White Chocolate Bars

 Some people ask: why is your white chocolate an off-white, ecru color? Isn’t it supposed to be pure white? Actually, no. When you see a white chocolate that is pure white, it’s because the cocoa butter has been deodorized and bleached to give it the pure white color. This is neither tasty, nor healthy because you’re not only stripping the flavor but also the health benefits from the cocoa butter.

Askinosie White Chocolate Bars

So, is white chocolate actually chocolate??! Since cocoa butter is the main ingredient in white chocolate, and since cocoa butter is a cocoa solid–when white chocolate contains cocoa butter, not a cocoa butter equivalent–it is, in fact, “actually chocolate”! When buying white chocolate, look for bars that list the cocoa butter content; and even better, the origin of the beans and ideally just a few other ingredients like a dairy (or dairy alternative) and sugar. That will ensure you’re eating white chocolate that is, in fact, real chocolate and will taste much better than those convenience store bars we grew up with as kids. Now go grab a craft white chocolate bar, some popcorn and a glass of champagne (trust us) and enjoy!! 

U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Requirements for Specific Standardized Cacao Products