What Is White Chocolate and Can You Actually Call It Real Chocolate?

White chocolate is an acquired taste. (Immediate aside: I love the phrase “an acquired taste,” because it’s basically a polite way of saying that something tastes terrible.) It’s possible that you find this stuff gross. It’s certainly a different flavor profile than milk or dark chocolate. But love it or hate it, you’re here because you have questions about white chocolate. How is white chocolate made? Why is it white? Is white chocolate even real chocolate? Let’s find out more about this misunderstood sweet treat.

What is white chocolate?

White chocolate is, basically, chocolate without the chocolate. Or, to put it more specifically, it’s all the ingredients in a bar of chocolate except the cocoa solids. 

What is in white chocolate?

There’s no cocoa solids, we know that, but what is white chocolate made of? It’s everything else in a bar of chocolate. So, that usually means sugar, milk, and cocoa butter. Some milk solids are often added as well. 

Does white chocolate have cocoa? 

White chocolate contains no cocoa solids. However, it is not free from cocoa altogether. It uses another part of the cocoa plant that is also used in other chocolate: cocoa butter, which is essentially the fat from the cocoa bean. 

Is white chocolate real chocolate?

At the risk of getting a tad philosophical here, what is “real” anyway? No, white chocolate does not contain all the parts of what we think of as classic chocolate, so it is often not considered “real.” However, it does use cocoa products of some kind and is in other ways identical to milk and dark chocolate. According to the FDA, white chocolate is the “common or usual name of products made from cacao fat (i.e., cocoa butter), milk solids, nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners, and other safe and suitable ingredients, but containing no nonfat cacao solids.” 

What makes white chocolate white?

White chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, which are dark and give other chocolate its classic shade. But white chocolate does make use of cocoa butter, which is ivory in color. 

Does white chocolate have caffeine?

It turns out the caffeine in chocolate comes from the cocoa solids, not the cocoa butter. That means that white chocolate contains no caffeine (though keep in mind if you’re ordering a white chocolate latte, the latte part still has caffeine). 

Is white chocolate vegan?

Alas, white chocolate contains milk and milk solids, meaning it is not suitable for vegan consumption. 

Is white chocolate gluten free? 

If you are avoiding gluten and still looking for a sweet treat, you’re in luck: White chocolate contains no gluten. Happy snacking!

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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