Vegan White Chocolate

It’s no secret that vegan white chocolate is fast becoming one of the most sought-after delicacies in the Western world. After all, the extraordinary richness and smoothness of quality white chocolate is, in my opinion (and, judging from sales, in the opinion of many others), one of the most exquisite journeys of the palate one is likely ever to undertake. Couple this with the ever-increasing demand for quality vegan confections, and this leaves many consumers chomping at the bit for vegan white chocolate.

For those of you that may not know about white chocolate, allow me to help fill in the blanks. Vegan white chocolate, like regular white chocolate, is, in fact, not chocolate at all. Confusingly enough, however, vegan white chocolate IS derived from chocolate -- it simply doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, which form the basis of regular chocolate. Here’s how it works: during the manufacturing process, the dark-colored solids of the cacao bean are separated from its fatty content (as with milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate) but, unlike conventional chocolates, the cocoa solids are not later recombined. As a result of this, white chocolate doesn’t contain any of the nutritional or anti-oxidant properties of regular chocolate (and doesn’t have any of the reputed aphrodisiac properties, either).

Since vegan white chocolate (and regular white chocolate) doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, it is much easier to fabricate than regular chocolate. As a result, some products made to appear like white chocolate may, in fact, be made from hydrogenated oils or animal fats, and have no components whatsoever of cacao. However, the FDA has, thankfully, made it illegal to actually market such products as “white chocolate.”

You may be wondering, what is it that sets vegan white chocolate apart from regular white chocolate? Since vegans have made a conscious choice to avoid consumption of any animal products, the milk that is normally used in the manufacture of white chocolate must obviously be replaced; the usual choice is soy milk, although this is certainly not the only possibility: other foods that contain plant-based oils can also work. While soy powder is the most common choice when making vegan white chocolate, raw nut butters such as cashew and macadamia nut butter may be used instead. These vegan milk substitutes are then combined with sugar and cocoa butter. It also may be sweetened with stevia or cane juice, which make less-refined alternatives to sugar, and also register lower on the glycemic index.

Within the past ten years, the demand for vegan products has soared, as nowadays, more and more people are realizing that being committed to a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to mean forgoing their favorite treats. Manufacturers of food products are realizing the potential in this little-explored market, and have begun to make vegan varieties of products that meet, and, in some cases, exceed the standards set by conventional, non-vegan products. In fact, with high-quality products, like some varieties of vegan white chocolate, you’d be hard-pressed to notice a difference in taste. And, since some vegan products will use less refined, higher-quality ingredients than their non-vegan counterparts, they may actually taste noticeably better!

What can you do with vegan white chocolate? Pretty much anything you can do with regular white chocolate! Vegan white chocolate can be used in anything from cookies to cakes, mousse to ice cream toppings, and can most definitely be eaten right out of the bag (which is perhaps my favorite way to enjoy it!).

And, although many people are unfamiliar with the vegan lifestyle, it is a growing movement, and the potential benefits are many. With the vegan lifestyle, there is also the deep satisfaction of knowing your dietary choices are not harming any animals. The word "vegan" comes from the first and last syllables of "vegetarian", and represents the core principles behind the vegetarian movement. When people practice a vegan lifestyle, this means that they don't use animal products of any kind. Not only do vegans not eat meat, fish or poultry, they also don't consume products derived from animals, such as eggs, milk, cheese, and honey. Dedicated vegans will make a point of not wearing leather, furs, silk, or pearls, and will only use hygiene products that do not contain animal products and which have not been tested on animals.

I hope this article has answered any questions you may have had about vegan white chocolate, and that, whatever type of chocolate you choose, you enjoy it in good health!