White chocolate is a confectionery derivative of chocolate. It
commonly consists of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and salt, and
is characterized by a pale yellow or ivory appearance. The melting
point of cocoa butter, its primary cacao bean component, is high
enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, yet low
enough to allow white chocolate to melt in the mouth.
Composition and regulations
Despite its moniker, white chocolate is, by definition, not
chocolate as it does not contain cocoa solids, the primary
nutritional constituent of chocolate liquor. During the
manufacturing process, the dark-colored solids of the cacao bean are
separated from its fatty content such as milk, semi-sweet, and dark
chocolate, but unlike conventional chocolates the cocoa solids are
not later recombined.
As a result, white chocolate does not contain the antioxidative
properties or many characterizing ingredients of chocolate, such as
thiamine, riboflavin, theobromine, phenylethylamine, and serotonin.
Often, the cocoa butter is deodorized to remove its strong and
undesirable taste that would negatively affect the flavor of the
finished product. Regulations also govern what may be marketed as
"white chocolate": In the United States, since 2004, white chocolate
must be (by weight) at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% total milk
solids, and 3.5% milk fat, and no more than 55% sugar or other
sweeteners. Before this date, U.S. firms required temporary
marketing permits to sell white chocolate. The European Union has
adopted the same standards, except that there is no limit on sugar
Although white chocolate is made the same way as milk chocolate
and dark chocolate, it lacks cocoa paste, liquor or powder. Some
preparations that may be confused with white chocolate (known as
confectioner's coating, summer coating, or Almond bark) are made
from inexpensive solid or hydrogenated vegetable and animal fats,
and as such, are not at all derived from cocoa. These preparations
may actually be white (in contrast to white chocolate's ivory shade)
and will lack cocoa butter's flavor.
White chocolate contains the least amount of cocoa solids,
therefore it contains less theobromine than other chocolates.
White chocolate contains only trace amounts of caffeine that is
present in cocoa solids.