The Best White Chocolate
The average composition of a typical bar of top-quality white chocolate is about 30% cocoa butter and 70% sugar and milk solids combined. With such a low percentage of cocoa butter in comparison to milk and sugar, the texture is usually thick, soft and sometimes fudge-like. By contrast, a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar has a smooth and creamy texture because its composition is usually around 40% cocoa butter, 30% cocoa particles and 30% sugar (and no milk—only white chocolate and milk chocolate contain milk).
White chocolate is known for its “dairy flavors,” which include butter, cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel and/or fruit. Every brand of white chocolate will have a different assortment of these flavors. Some bars will be light and ethereal like a bride’s veil, while others will be strapping and bold like a groom’s tuxedo. Like any chocolate, each manufacturer has its own recipe, and the proportions are highly guarded secrets. As shown in the explanation of cocoa butter, above, differences in the raw ingredients significantly impact the chocolate, and manufacturers may use a combination of sweeteners—not all table sugar, for example.
Amedei White Chocolate Bar (Cioccolato al Latte Bianco)
Strong and powerful but not overbearing, this is a white chocolate that strikes a wonderful balance. Neither too strong or too light, it’s the Goldilocks choice of white chocolate bars, being “just right”. It appeals with a sophistication that’s difficult to describe in words, as good as we usually are in our descriptions. One of Our most expensive bars, they are definitely worth the price.
Amedei White With Pistachios Chocolate Bar (Cioccolato al Latte Bianco con Pistacchi)
Sweet and savory, smooth and crunchy, and complemented with a remarkably fresh green flavor, this is a bar any producer should be proud of. Pepper highlights linger in the back of the mouth, contrasting with the sweet white chocolate, while lemony notes are prominent throughout. While companies have traditionally paired almonds with white chocolate, one bite of this bar will convince you that pistachios and white chocolate were made for each other. Amedei, one of the greatest chocolate-makers in the world, gets it right with this bar.
Café Tasse Blanc White Chocolate Bar
Among the bars we tried for this review, Belgium’s Café Tasse is probably what most people would expect from a “classic” white chocolate. It’s a little on the sweet side but manages to evade cloying territory. It’s a great go-to bar, and it definitely won’t break the bank. If you want a lemon-flavored white chocolate, the company makes a “pocket size” bar (1.58 ounces), Blanc Citron, which can be found at specialty stores and cafés that carry Café Tasse.
El Rey Icoa Chocolate Bar
As mentioned earlier, Icoa, from Venezuela, is the only white chocolate made with non-deodorized cocoa butter. As a result, its flavor is actually chocolaty and nutty, distinctly strong and masculine, which contrasts directly with all other white chocolate bars on the market. (You should be able to pick it out blind, if you’re tasting it with other white chocolates.) A subdued sweetness makes it serious and stern, giving the impression that the bar actually contains less sugar. The texture is also smoother than most white chocolates, which contributes an added sense of refinement.
Green & Black’s White Chocolate Bar
This is a very “macho” and assertive bar, boasting strong vanilla flavors and a subdued sweetness level that may seem uncommon for white chocolate. The mouthfeel is a bit more restrained and smooth than other white chocolates. A strong sprinkling of scraped vanilla bean gives it a dramatic appearance. Green & Black’s, from England, is one of the world’s leading brands of organic chocolate.
Slitti Bianco White Chocolate Bar
Slitti’s white chocolate is simpler than all the other bars we tried, but it remains unique nonetheless. Its flavor is somewhat mild, yet highly reminiscent of sweet milk, which is surprising given that the bar’s cocoa butter content is 30%. The bar is also much harder than any other white chocolate, which makes the texture smooth, not soft. We love Slitti chocolate in general, but the packaging puts it at a disadvantage when compared to the other bars. For a line launched in 1988, the package looks like it’s from 1968 (not a stylish era, and lots of gold foil passing for “class”). Perhaps its location in the tiny town of Monsummano Terme, in Tuscany, keeps it locked in time. But no matter how good the contents, packaging sells—especially in other countries where you’re not well-known. Per favore, Signor Slitti: Let some of Italy’s great design talent give you a new look.
Venchi Bianco White Chocolate Bar
A very light and refreshing bar, laden with crisp lemon notes (natural, no lemon added). There are subtle peaks of vanilla that contribute an interesting cookie-like flavor, but with sophistication in mind rather than any cloying sweetness. This is a very pleasant and low-key white chocolate with a gentle temperament. The elegant, Old World-evocative wrapper, with a 19th-century painting of a woman pouring chocolate into a mold, hints at the great flavor inside.