Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Selvaticas: Jaina (White Chocolate)

I decided, just this once, to extend the critical invitation to white chocolate, that buttery solid entirely bereft of cocoa solids. White chocolate is, you know -- I don't need to say it, but Not Real Chocolate. It contains cocoa butter as opposed to cocoa solids, which basically means it's composed of a byproduct rather than a pure bean product. Selvaticas makes it really confusing because they say this bar is 31%. All will be explained below. In the meantime, stats:

Selvaticas: Jaina
Cocoa content: 0%*
Notable ingredients: n/a
Origin: n/a

* So, as you can see from the picture, this bar boasts "31% cocoa." This is really misleading: when cocoa beans are harvested, they are roasted and removed from the shell, and eventually liquified, a process by which two end products are made: one is cocoa solid, which is the pure chocolate ingredient and the source of the taste that you identify with chocolate, and the other is cocoa butter, a fatty byproduct that is used to smooth out flavor and provide a milky texture. So, as I gleaned from Selvaticas's website, this bar is 31% cocoa butter -- not cocoa.

I have had limited contact with white chocolate in the past. I've definitely had my share of golden-wrapper Lindt truffles, I used to be addicted to Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream bar, and I still love peppermint bark, which has at least a layer of white chocolate. But I've never really been into upscale white chocolate bars, so I'm not sure what good white chocolate is supposed to taste like.

I guess, if Selvaticas's "Jaina" is any indication, white chocolate is one of those things that doesn't get better the more you pay for it. The white chocolate experience seems to cap off at Lindt truffles: they taste buttery and creamy without being so sweet that the back of your throat dries out. Jaina had too much going on: the cocoa butter was so thick and overwhelming that this tasted almost more like solid cream cheese than chocolate. There was no snap to speak of, but instead a kind of thick, mucky chew. And the amount of sugar was truly overwhelming: 32 grams in the entire bar, compared with, for example,  a comparably sized Dagoba bar containing just 7 grams. Of course white chocolate needs to be made with extra sugar so as to sweeten the cocoa butter, but this was like butter frosting. I'm not feeling it, so this is probably the last time you'll see a white chocolate bar appear here. C-.

No comments:

Post a Comment