Happy National White Chocolate Day!

#NationalWhiteChocolateDay? But, wait: is white chocolate any good? Is it really chocolate?

Find out: stop by Voilà Chocolat today -- 221 West 79th St. at Broadway -- for a FREE taste of 31% cacao Crème Francais white chocolate from the Guittard Chocolate Company.

And scroll below to learn more about this misunderstood confection.

White Chocolate

White chocolate suffered an identity crisis in this country until the FDA officially defined it in 2002. Well before that, until 1993, manufacturers were not permitted to call it chocolate, and were forced instead to refer to white chocolate as "cocoa butter confectionary."

Even now, debate persists about whether white chocolate has a place in fine chocolatiering or on the palates of discerning chocolate lovers. As with any complex subject, there are pros and cons. But our answer is: yes, it does have an important place.

In white chocolate, cocoa solids are replaced with milk solids, so it's missing the complex, beautiful flavors and healthy flavonols that we love in a piece of good dark chocolate. And unfortunately, much of the "white chocolate" available for sale contains cheaper, replacement fats other than cocoa butter, plus inferior quality milk solids and a heaping dose of sugar.

On the other hand, high-quality white chocolate made with 100% real cocoa butter from quality beans, does impart a pleasing mild flavor and melts in your mouth in a particularly satisfying way.

All chocolatiers know that white chocolate shows some colors and patterns better than milk or dark chocolate. But we also really like the way that white chocolate can deliver certain flavors in confections.

For example, our matcha green tea confections -- from green tea chocolate bars to matcha green tea white hot chocolate -- work perfectly with the subtler characteristics of white chocolate to carry the delicate green tea flavor and the exciting green color. 

So our advice, which really applies to all chocolate: when consuming white chocolate, make sure you choose very good white chocolate. Look for pure, high-quality cocoa butter, without cocoa butter substitutes or an excessive amount of sugar. And expect that as with many products that are higher quality, good white chocolate will cost more than lower quality mass-produced versions. This is because the ingredients cost more, including not only the cocoa butter itself but also the milk powder that is added.

In our confections and in our guests' chocolatiering experiences at Voilà Chocolat, we use a very high quality white chocolate that is 31% cocoa butter, which is an even higher percentage of cacao than off-the-shelf milk chocolate often contains. Is it "as good" as dark chocolate? In many ways, we feel that it simply never can be. But is white chocolate ok in moderate quantities and if it's very good quality? Yes!