As you can from the title of this posting, I really, really like white chocolate — its sweetness, delicate flavor, luxurious texture, and ability to pair so nicely with a wide variety of ingredients — raspberry, strawberry, lemon, lime, and chocolate. In a restaurant or bakery, if there’s a white chocolate dessert, that’s almost always the one I’ll pick.
But not everyone is such a fan of white chocolate. According to a recent study by market research firm, Mintel, only 8% of people surveyed indicated that white chocolate is their preferred type of chocolate. (The majority of respondents like milk chocolate.)
I wonder if some people are confusing real white chocolate with inferior tasting “summer coating” (also known as “compound coating,” “white confection” or “vegetable fat coating”). True white chocolate consists of cocoa fat, milk solids, milk fat, sugar (or another sweetener) and small amounts of emulsifier and whey. The only fats allowed in white chocolate are cocoa and milk fats. Also, real white chocolate cannot contain artificial color; that’s why it’s ivory, and not white, like summer coatings. To add insult to injury, the vegetable fats in imitation white chocolate tends to be hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated – particularly unhealthy fats.
I think white chocolate has been stigmatized – for not being cool or sophisticated enough. Some dessert and food connoisseurs may not want to admit, even to themselves, that they like white chocolate. But Anthony CIrone, a co-owner of Li-Lic Chocolates (www.li-lacchocolates.com) often finds that people who don’t think they like white chocolate taste it and become fans. While white chocolate products represent a small percentage of Li-Lac’s business, its White Chocolate Almond Bark, with roasted almonds, is especially popular.Will white chocolate become more popular?
Steve Kravets, Director of Procurement for 2 beans (www.2beans.com), a retailer and coffee bar stocking an amazing assortment of chocolates, thinks white chocolate is becoming more popular as more high-end chocolatiers are crafting white chocolate products. Steve also notes that these high-end chocolatiers are starting to pair novel ingredients with white chocolate.
The big news in the white chocolate world is Valrhona’s Dulcey Bar. Dulcey got its start when a Valrhona chocolatier forgot about some white chocolate simmering in a water bath. Hours later the white chocolate had caramelized and was blond in color. Valrhona recommends pairing Dulcey with these ingredients: caramel, coffee, hazelnut, and low-acidic fruit.
I look forward to other white chocolate products and innovations!