White chocolate has always raised a conundrum to me: how can something without cocoa mass be chocolate? Until I tried what can truly be called white chocolate, I had always mentally stored it away as candy, and not chocolate at all. I figured that what was normally the cocoa mass in chocolate was being replaced by extra sugar and fillers. This actually is the case in the majority of convenient store white chocolates - the first 3 ingredients in a generic white chocolate bar are sugar, nonfat milk, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Only after trying Gourmet Boutique's variety of white chocolate did I taste anything that resembled a cocoa bean. The earthy taste and low melting point of cocoa butter (the main component of white chocolate) is clearly evident in Askinosie's bars. Mix that melt-in-your-mouth quality with crunchy, aromatic cocoa nibs or beautifully nutty pistachio crumble, and white chocolate has a whole new meaning. If you're feeling more daring, a Milkboy white bar with Bourbon vanilla will do: the subtlety of white chocolate allows the vanilla bean, a hugely underrated flavor profile, to shine through. My newfound love in this world of chocolates, however, demands to be mentioned: Venchi's salted nut bar is the perfect mix of salty and sweet. As someone who can never decide how I want to satisfy both cravings, Venchi has the answer - and with almost 9 grams of protein from the whole nuts, I can feel a little less guilty about eating half of the bar in one sitting. Next time you're looking for a new treat, try one of Gourmet Boutique's many varieties of white chocolate: Cocoa Sampaka's rose and strawberry bar, MarieBelle's matcha tea bar, Milkboy's Bourbon vanilla, Askinosie's white bar with various toppings, or the oh-so-perfect Venchi bar with salted nuts. When you do, note that the second ingredient in all of these is cocoa butter, and you will know that this is the real deal.
Written by Amberly Moody