White chocolate can be divisive. It does not contain cocoa solids, and instead is usually made simply from milk, sugar and cocoa butter. Many people go as far as to ask, does it really count as chocolate?
Considering the fact that a cocoa bean is 52-58% cocoa butter and 48-42% cocoa solids, and that a craft white chocolate bar is as satisfyingly rich as any dark, we think this question rather harsh.
Our makers have created a wondrous selection of bars which display the full potential of white chocolate. They have paired flavoursome cocoa butters with high-quality milks with harmonious results. Here are our top ten award-winners:
1. Castronovo: White Chocolate with Lemon Oil & Sea Salt (ICA Gold 2020-21)
The Bar: This is a pocket-sized piece of the Mediterranean. Denise, the mastermind behind Castronovo, talks about this bar by referring to the old Sicilian saying “a lemon is not a real lemon unless it is Sicilian”. Indeed she imbues this white chocolate with real lemon essential oil and lemon-infused sea salt.
The cocoa butter: Castronovo use cacao sustainably harvested and grown in Central and South America. They pay premium prices for cacao grown by indigenous people who live in and protect the world’s most remote and threatened environments.
The Maker: Denise Castronovo spent 15 years in Geospatial Technology before turning her hand to chocolate making. She is based in Stuart, Florida. Read more about Castronovo here.
2. Åkesson’s: Madagascar White 43% (AOC Silver 2020, Gold 2017)
The Bar: A white chocolate bar unlike any other- hints of smokiness and a deep chocolatey flavour lend a unique depth.
The Cocoa Butter: The Madagascan cocoa butter is undeodorized. This means it has not had steam injected through it to remove the volatile components which contribute to its natural odour.
3. Feitoria do Cacao- White Chocolate with Azores Milk (AOC 2021 Gold)
The Bar: Feitoria do Cacao has produced an original recipe of white chocolate to enhance the Azorean’s unique milk flavour by combining natural cocoa butter with a very low amount of sugar, without flavouring or emulsifiers.
The Cocoa Butter: The beans used come from Ecuador. The real star is the high-quality Azorean milk however, which has been produced by the cows which inhabit this volcanic land.
The Maker: Feitoria do cacao was launched after Tomoko and Sue took a trip to São Tomé and Principe. Click here for the full story.
4. Zotter Labooko- Fine White Chocolate (AOC White Flavoured Gold 2018)
The Bar: This bar is everything you expect from a good white chocolate; smooth, sweet and creamy with a burst of genuine Bourbon vanilla.
The Cocoa Butter: This bar contains 40% pure cocoa butter.
The Maker: Zotter is an Austrian bean to bar chocolate maker with a penchant for the wacky. But at the heart of everything Zotter do is a simple, ethical approach to chocolate making. Read about Zotter here.
5. Dormouse Chocolates- 38% Toasted White Chocolate (AOC White Bean to Bar Gold 2018)
The Bar: The dark blonde bar has a soft, fudgy texture. We noted plenty of sweet caramel, and touches of muscovado and malt. This bar is undoubtedly a sweet treat with a sophisticated caramac-like quality, thanks to the toasting of the milk powder.
The Cocoa Butter: The cocoa butter comes all the way to Manchester from Madagascar.
6. Chocolat Madagascar- 45% White Chocolate (ICA White Plain Award Winner 2018)
The Bar: This rich, high cocoa white chocolate is buttery in texture and melt, and has a flavour that is explicitly pure and warming cocoa butter, but in the background lingers notes of toffee and banana.
The Cocoa Butter: Madagascan cocoa butter seems to be the running thread of this list! It is sourced by working closely with the farmers on the Island, and is fully traceable.
The Maker: Robert, the face behind Chocolat Madagascar, produced chocolate that is widely available locally but little known beyond the island. Chocolat Madagascar is truly a hidden gem, and worth learning more about.
7. Omnom- Coffee and Milk (ICA Flavoured White Gold Award 2018)
Omnom – Coffee and Milk£7.95
The Bar: If you’re a mochaccino lover, then this white chocolate from Omnom is the bar for you. The Nicaraguan coffee beans give the bar a clear but not overpowering coffee flavour reminiscent of coffee buttercream.
The Cocoa Butter: This is another high-percentage bar, with 38% organic cocoa butter.
The Maker: Iceland’s first small batch artisan chocolate maker, Omnom is one of the quirkier makers in our chocolate library. They make their chocolate in a converted petrol station; click here for more.
8. Georgia Ramon- Raspberry & Rose White Chocolate Bar- AOC gold winner 2017
The Bar: The vibrant fuschia colouring of this bar comes from the real pieces of raspberry which have been conched in for added zing. Infused into the bar is Bulgarian rose oil; with 1000kg of fresh rose petals being enough for only 300g of rose oil, this is an aromatic luxury.
The Cocoa Butter: Georgia Ramon have used non-deodorised cocoa butter, giving the bar rich chocolateley flavour notes. The term ‘non-deodorised’ means that the cocoa butter’s natural aromas and volatiles (and antioxidant properties) have not been removed through steam injection.
The Maker: Georgia Ramon was founded in 2015 by renowned pâtissier Georg Bernadini and his partner, Ramona Gustmann, to be a craft chocolate maker, shop, and café dedicated to producing the highest-quality handmade chocolate.
9. Karuna- White Chocolate with Raspberries (ICA 2021 Silver)
The Bar: Notes of almond within the white chocolate pair beautifully with the bright and tangy raspberries. The bar is made with almond “mylk” as opposed to dairy; a rare vegan white bar.
The Cocoa Butter: The beans are Ecuadorian, while the chocolate bar itself is made in Italy. Karuna, being committed to vegan chocolate crafting has used almond ‘mylk’ here.
10. Jordi’s- ‘POP’ 40% White Chocolate with Nibs (AoC Bronze 2020)
The Bar: It’s unusual to include cacao nibs in white chocolate, but the sweet white chocolate is the perfect counterpoint to the thick layer of crunchy, intense cocoa nibs that cover one side of the bar. Together, they add up to a crunchy, sweet, chocolatey and delicious experience!
The Cocoa Butter:
The Maker: Jordi’s is the Czech Republic’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Based in Hradec Králové, 50 miles east of Prague, founders Jiří Stejskal and Lukáš Koudelka started making chocolate in 2012. Read more here.
Try our top white bars
If you liked the sound of our top ten white chocolate bars, here’s you chance sample them yourselves. This selection box of white chocolates has been plucked from the above list – so all the greatest white chocolates are all in one place!