White chocolate is a wonderful thing, in my opinion, and in many cases I actually prefer it to chocolate itself. I’ve heard many people express a distaste for the stuff, and I have a feeling that some of these cases stem from a couple of causes.
Many people believe they’re eating white chocolate when, in fact, they’re eating what is referred to as “confectionary coating”, or a white blend of solid fats, sugar, and vanilla flavoring. This is not white chocolate, and in my opinion tastes very little like real white chocolate. Any time you see something labeled “white chips” or the like, it isn’t white chocolate. If in doubt, check the ingredient list; it should contain actual cocoa butter.
Some white chocolates do have a chalky taste to them; I’m guessing this is due in some way to the milk solids used in them. However, when used as ingredients in most recipes, this chalky taste tends to get drowned out in favor of white chocolate’s better aspects (which include an incredibly delicate flavor and a you-wouldn’t-believe-it smooth, buttery mouth-feel). I highly recommend tracking down a copy of the unfortunately out-of-print White Chocolate cookbook by Janice Henderson. However, many chocolate cookbooks these days include recipes for white chocolate as well (I’ll be reviewing one soon, in fact).
If you really want the ultimate white chocolate experience, however, then there’s really only one solution: track down a bar of Green & Black brand organic white chocolate with real vanilla bean flecks. We find it off-and-on in the all-natural foods section of our grocery store, or occasionally with the other chocolate bars. There’s no chalky taste in this brand, and my favorite way to showcase it is simply to make hot chocolate with a bar—whole milk or half and half (about a cup to a cup and a half, heated to scalding in a microwave) in which you whisk in one chopped or broken-up bar. Serves two.