The Chocolate Life

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I took Casey's suggestion from her Chocolate Note blog (http://chocolatenote.blogspot.com/2007/11/el-rey-icoa-white-chocola...) and I'm currently tasting El Rey's Icoa White Chocolate, but I'm not really sure that it's chocolate since it's so different. I guess that the ingredients are pretty similar to milk chocolate (in order: sugar, cacao butter, whole and skim milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla) but the only cacao product is "cacao butter". Is that enough to consider it to be chocolate? It's a nice little change of pace, kind of like reading a good detective novel as a break from classic literature, but is it really chocolate? It tastes more like candy to me. Is there any consensus out there? What do you think?

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P.S.- I can't get the Add hyperlink thing to work. Can someone please give me instructions how to do it? I want to have it be a word that is really a hyperlink that takes you to the site without showing the URL.
The way I look at white chocolate is that it has half of the essential ingredients to be chocolate ... that inimitable cacao fat.

I think it always needs to be qualified as "white", but it certainly qualifes more than some sort of mockolate product that has the cocoa solids and not the cocoa butter (you know, that stuff that has partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, sugar and cocoa in it that is made into super-cheap Eater rabbits).

I like the Green & Black's White Chocolate, which has oodles of vanilla bean in there. It's not at all like the Icoa though, it's a deodorized cacao fat that takes the milk & vanilla notes readily.
Thanks for the info Gwen.

Another question- does cacao butter have any theobromine, caffeine, or other stimulants that dark chocolate has or are the stimulants only in the "cocoa mass" or "cocoa liqueur"? I ask because I wonder if it's safe for me to eat white chocolate at night since I'm very sensitive to caffeine and related stimulants.
Believe it or not, there is an FDA standard of identity for white chocolate. What this means is that there is a substance that can legally be called white chocolate in the US. Whether or not you agree with that is another matter entirely.

Much chocolate consists of a blend of beans from different growing regions. As cocoa butter has the flavor of the beans it is made from, and cocoa butter is often added during conching, much cocoa butter is deodorized, that is, has its flavor removed so the flavor does not have to be calculated in the blend.

Because white chocolate is really only cocoa butter, sugar, milk/cream, and vanilla, the reason most white chocolate has no chocolate flavor is that it's made from cocoa butter that has had all the flavor removed from it.

El Rey Icoa is one of the few white chocolates in the world that is made from undeodorized cocoa butter. Thus it has a mild milk chocolate flavor. El Rey can do this because all of the beans it uses to make the chocolate come from a single growing region (Carenero in Venezuela). One of the reasons why Swiss white chocolate is thought of highly is the quality of the dairy ingredients. One reason why people like white chocolate (apart from the fact that it is sweet) is the texture - because there is no powder (what the industry calls non-fat cocoa solids) there is no grainy texture - only the texture of sweet fat.

It took over a decade of lobbying by the Chocolate Manufacturer's Association to get the FDA to agree to a standard of identity for white chocolate.

The exact chemical makeup of the butter varies, but for the most part the components that affect cholesterol metabolism and related functions are in the butter. Virtually all of the alkaloids (caffeine, theobromine, phenyethylamine, etc) are in the powder.
Thanks Gwen and Clay for their Masters Class.
Thinking about lobbying a decade for giving white chocolate the "chocolate" label, makes me think about the XVII discussion about chocolate's nature as a food or a beverage!
Definitively, chocolate is a subject no one can dismiss.
To me, white chocolate is real chocolate. You can't deny that the cocoa butter is there!

Granted, a lot of the common white chocolate on the market really isn't, using vegetable oils instead of cocoa butter like Cybele pointed out. It's such a shame too, since white chocolate, when done well, it so lovely!

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