White chocolate seems like a paradox. How can white and chocolate exist at the same time on the same cookie or in the same vat of ice cream? All we can say is, it can happen. And, National White Chocolate Day on September 22 is proof-positive that this delicious combo rates its own special day.
Although the FDA officially recognized white chocolate as being chocolate in 2004, the question of its authenticity is still being hotly debated even today. We say, there’s no time for arguing when we could be celebrating National White Chocolate Day in the only logical fashion: by finding the nearest cookie, cake or even liqueur that includes luscious white chocolate basking in non-debatable sweet creamy goodness!
National White Chocolate Day timeline
It’s official: white chocolate is a thing
After 10 years of petitioning by chocolate manufacturers, the FDA finally agreed to expand its definition of “chocolate,” making white chocolate officially a part of the chocolate family.
The first mass-distributed white chocolate bar comes to the U.S.
The Alpine White bar, a Nestlé product, is released. While the white chocolate itself was a novelty at this time, the real excitement of the Alpine White was that it included almonds in the chocolate.
A new version is created on this side of the pond
In the U.S., Kuno Baedeker developed a white chocolate while working for the Merckens Chocolate Company, which still makes chocolate today (and incidentally, also markets other sweet treats like Black Chocolate Wafers).
White chocolate makes its debut in Europe
Believed to be invented by the Swiss company Nestlé, the first bar of white chocolate, called the Galak bar, (rebranded as the MilkyBar in English-speaking countries), was revealed to the confectionery-loving world.
National White Chocolate Day Activities
Wake up to a new indulgence
Instead of the usual non-fat, no-sugar-or-cream coffee you dutifully make (and sip with a sigh) each morning, just for this one day, try melting a few white chocolate chips into a steaming cup of cocoa for a luscious alternative. You'll thank yourself (and us) tomorrow, when your usual coffee tastes better than ever.
Make your taste buds snack-happy
White-chocolate-covered pretzels create the perfect snacking storm: creamy, sweet, salty, crunchy. If you’ve never had this unique pleasure, may we suggest you take this day as permission to dig in?
Learn to make truffles
Although truffles are considered one of the most decadent of all sweet treats, if you’re new to candy-making, truffles are the 101 level. Many truffles are made by simply warming a white chocolate mixture shaped into balls, then rolling each ball in coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or sprinkles. (You can also dip the white chocolate balls into melted chocolate before rolling them in these toppings.) Bonus: if you need a quick-but-thoughtful gift idea, this DIY is no "truffle" at all!
Why White Chocolate Isn't Chocolate... Wait, It Really Is
Will the real chocolate please stand up?
The official definition of chocolate (in the U.S.) says it must include a certain percentage of cocoa solids (the source of dark chocolate color and aroma), which are not present in white chocolate.
So why is white chocolate called chocolate?
White chocolate does contain cocoa butter, which may have been the deciding factor in the FDA's decision to grant it official chocolate status — after a mere 10 years of presentations, pleading, and pressure from chocolate manufacturers.
How to recognize a real white chocolate when you see one
There are good (real) and not-so-good (fake) versions of white chocolate out there, so look for products with a creamy pale yellow color (but no food coloring added), made with at least 20% cocoa butter — less may extend its shelf life, but how long is it likely to sit on a shelf anyway?
Why We Love National White Chocolate Day
It makes everything prettier
Let's face it: brown food isn't incredibly exciting, even when it's chocolate. Pairing white chocolate with, um, chocolate, creates an exciting color contrast. (Think "Happy Birthday to Me" written in white chocolate on a dark chocolate cake.)
It's incredibly versatile
White chocolate is what makes those novelty coffee concoctions so delicious. It’s a lusciously creamy addition to anything from cookies to frosting. And it fulfills one simple but critical need: what to pair with macadamia nuts!
A little goes a long way (if you really want to stop at a little)
White chocolate does tend to be sweeter than its darker counterparts, so it just takes a smidgen in your favorite dessert recipe to elevate it to Viennese-coffee-house status. Excuse us while we mix up some cookies. With macadamia nuts.