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Spotlight: Flavored White Chocolate

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I was wrong to spurn white chocolate. While it doesn't have the complexity or terroir to the extent that single origin dark chocolate does, cocoa butter is an excellent confectionery medium, carrying added flavors well and offering a silky smooth melt. However, I maintain that it is not "really chocolate," and here's why. If you roast and grind peanuts, it's peanut butter. If you add sugar, it's still peanut butter. If you added milk powder, you could still arguably call it peanut butter. If you separate out the peanut oil (analogous to cocoa butter) and mix it with sugar and milk, you could not, by any stretch of the imagination, call it peanut butter.

 

That doesn't mean that white chocolate isn't valid in its own right as a confection Cocoa butter has a subtle, pleasant flavor and sublime melt and can be combined with a wide range of ingredients to create unique and beautiful flavors, colors, and textures. Also, I don't have any better name ideas.

Having overcome my vehement but ultimately tenuously constructed bias against white chocolate as its own category, I began including bars in tastings and giving them as gifts (thus far very well received). We've come across some truly fantastic creations that elevate white "chocolate" to an art form, and I'm only slightly surprised to say that I can highly recommend almost every bar on this list.

 

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Castronovo

White Chocolate with Lemon & Lemon Sea Salt

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OmNom

Black & Burnt Barley

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Soma

Wild Berry Pop (White chocolate with berries and pop rocks)

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OmNom

Sea Salted Toffee

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Valrhona

Blond Dulcey (caramelized white chocolate)

Flavor: very sweet (as expected), a great dairy richness from the addition of milk and butter that evokes milky caramel and dulce de leche with a note of toasted grains and popcorn balls. They say freshly baked shortbread and I think that’s right on. Soft snap and a lovely golden color.

Recommendation: If you generally like caramel and white chocolate, I would highly recommended this bar. Our tasters who like white/sweeter chocolate loved it. It’s well done and nicely balanced, and it has more complexity of flavor than regular white chocolate. It is candy-level sweet though, so if you don't like that, skip this one.

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Fruition

Vanilla Bean Toasted White

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Atypic

Caramelized White Chocolate

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Kaitxo

Matcha and Black Sesame White Chocolate

Flavor: This ultra-smooth bar is both visually striking and beautiful balanced. The relatively high percentage of cocoa solids - 45% - helps keep it from being overly sweet, while the matcha adds a complexity, interest, and a touch of earthiness, with an overall mellow flavor. The black sesame seeds are mild and add a light crunch. There are a lot of white chocolates out there that are cloyingly sweet and utterly bland - this one isn’t.

Recommendation: Highly recommended. If you like matcha-flavored sweets, it’s a must try. It would also be a really cool addition to a tasting line up or a cheese & chocolate board. 

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Auro

Moringa & Pinipig White Chocolate

Flavor: This bar uses white chocolate as a smooth, sweet base to highlight unique flavors and textures. Moringa, a shrub native to the Indian subcontinent and popular for its nutrient and antioxidant properties, has a flavor similar to matcha, but with a different, more vegetal earthiness. Pinipig is toasted young glutinous rice, a snack and cooking ingredient popular in the Philippines. It adds a pleasant crunch and lightly toasty flavor to the bar.

Recommendation: Highly recommended. Really well done. If you like matcha or similar green tea/earthy flavors, you will probably love it! The beautiful packaging and striking color also make it a perfect gift.

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Raphio

Jasmine Matcha White Chocolate

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Triangle

Latte White Chocolate + Milk & Espresso

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Domori

White Chocolate with Pistachios

Flavor: The chunks of pistachio were large and salty, and the white chocolate was smooth and mild with a predominant cocoa butter flavor.

Recommendation: Highly recommended. This bar is great if you like sweet-salty combinations and want plenty of crunch, with the focus on the nuts rather than the chocolate.

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Amedei

White Chocolate with Pistachios

Flavor: Pronounced milky flavors in the white chocolate, along with a more candy-like flavor. Quite sweet. The pistachio pieces were smaller and less salty.

Recommendation: This one is good if you like white chocolate and don’t want the inclusions to distract too much from the chocolate experience, or if you’re not as much of a fan of the sweet-salty combination.

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OmNom

Cookies & Cream White Chocolate

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Monsoon

Blue Corn Atole White Chocolate

Flavor: Atole is a traditional beverage in Central American made from cornmeal and flavored with unrefined sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, and the concept works well here! This bar has classic white chocolate flavors combined with a delicate taste and texture of the corn, a slight pleasant starchiness. It doesn’t have spices, so it’s a very mild flavor overall.

Recommendation: Highly recommend. It is a great conversation starter at a chocolate tasting as people see it on the table and ask about the blue-gray color of the bar (enhanced with purple pea flower!).

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