Vanilla Chocolate

February 13, 2011 by  
Filed under About Chocolate

Vanilla chocolate is usually thought of as white chocolate. There is an ongoing controversy on whether vanilla chocolate is even a chocolate at all. When one thinks of something made of chocolate, the picture in your mind is of a dark or rich brown morsel of tastiness. Vanilla and chocolate are on the opposite ends of the scale of chocolates in color and taste.

The processes of making vanilla chocolates are the same as with dark chocolate, the difference is in the ingredients. Vanilla chocolate is made from sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder and vanilla. The Food and Drug Administration does not recognize white chocolate as a chocolate at all, as white chocolate contains no cocoa solids at all. There is an organization that is working on having white chocolate recognized since, without this standard, vanilla chocolate can contain vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter, and this can affect the taste and quality.

The process in which different chocolates are made is the same. When the seeds are ripe inside the fruit of the tree, the pods are picked off. The seeds are then placed in the sun to dry out and this process takes up to a week. This allows the seeds to ferment and dry. The beans have distinct flavors depending on where they are grown, how they are processed, and how they are mixed with other bean varieties. The chocolate maker blends the beans to create the right mix of flavor. Some chocolate manufacturers use Vanillin in place of real vanilla, which can effect the quality and taste of the vanilla chocolate. The first process for the chocolate is to be finely ground into a paste. The following step is to allow the paste to develop its flavor and smooth texture. This stage is called conching or kneading. The smoothed chocolate is then tempered to achieve the correct temperature. Next, the mixture is poured into molds or on a specially prepared surface to allow it to cool. It is then wrapped and packaged. The amount of time allowed in these processes will affect the outcome of the quality, taste and texture of the finished product. There is an option to use a mixture called confectionary coating, which can also be referred to as “summer” coating. This is where a vegetable coating similar to soy bean oil or palm kernel oil is used instead of the cocoa butter.

As many people may choose vanilla chocolate strictly on taste, having the option of a vanilla based chocolate adds a nice change from the original milk and dark chocolates available.

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