Ask Chantal: is white chocolate really chocolate?

Chantal loved this question from Hannah Gross. It’s something she deals with in her new book, but she was happy to talk a bit more about it here.

White chocolate with cardamom

The simple answer is that some people don’t count white chocolate as ‘real’ chocolate because it contains no cocoa solids.

However, James (our MD) and Chantal agree that, while white chocolate is different from dark and milk chocolate and lacks the rich depth and complexity that the cocoa solids create in chocolate, there’s a certain amount of unmerited snobbery about the issue. Cocoa (or cacao) seeds are made up of around 50% cocoa butter, so while white chocolate contains a high proportion of milk and sugar, a significant proportion of a good white chocolate bar is still derived from the cocoa bean.

Like mass-produced milk and dark chocolate, mass-produced white chocolate has traditionally contained additives that should never be seen in good chocolate and has had a very small percentage of cocoa-derived ingredients. Good white chocolate is as different from that as a low-cocoa commercial chocolate bar is from good chocolate.

‘It’s a delicious thing that people love,’ says Chantal. ‘It’s melting and wonderful in the mouth, so it gives that lovely chocolatey feeling. I wouldn’t choose to eat a whole block of white chocolate, but it’s an amazing backdrop for subtle and sophisticated flavours like saffron, pistachio and cardamom. One of my absolute favourite recipes is fennel with a white chocolate and citrus sauce, and one of our classic tasting combinations is Tokaj wine paired with cardamom white chocolate.’

Our cardamom white chocolate (pictured above) has just won the gold award for best flavoured white chocolate at the European Semi-Finals of the International Chocolate Awards, and we think the fact that white chocolate is included in awards like these is an encouraging sign.

We hope that helps, Hannah.


Do you have a question you’d like Chantal to answer? Post it in the comments and we’ll ask her.

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