As the sun blasted its rays right in my eyes, I pushed my hat a little lower. A quick glance at the town’s clock, before focusing again on the man in front of me. Dressed all in white. My mind raced through the events of the past days. How people warned, not to take him on. The Venezuelan is neither one nor the other. He’s a ghost. No one really grasps him. You can’t win from him. So they said. Now, many days after my trip along all these dusty desert towns had started, I looked him straight in the eyes. My hand squeezed the gun on my belt. The clock kept ticking. Noon was upon us. The grim smile on his face deepened. A vulture landed on a fence a couple of yards away, ominous. The hour was near. There was no way back.
I was about to take on… Señor “El Blanco”!
Ok, this might seem a bit more dramatic than needed. But today we are talking… white chocolate. The most contested chocolate there is, so far. Can we even call it chocolate? After all, it only uses cocoa butter. No cocoa mass to be found anywhere. White chocolate is made with profane amounts of sugar. Uses additives a-plenty. It is so sweet your tong almost sticks to the roof of your mouth. And still… some people seem to like it.
We have all tried it at some point in time. It is overly sweet. It usually has a strong vanilla flavor and nothing much else going on. Industrial chocolate makers use deodorized cocoa butter in their products. Any trace of flavor is actually processed out of the product. So it isn’t a surprise that flavorings are needed to make the product somewhat appealing to the customer.
But what happens if a renowned bean-to-bar chocolate maker like Willie Harcourt-Cooze decides to have a go at white chocolate? What if he uses origin cocoa butter. Not deodorized cocoabutter. And no unnecessary additives. Will it stand against other origin chocolate products? Will it show the true colors of cocoa?
Willie’s Cacao offers a wonderful range of origin chocolate bars and products, such as chocolate drops. He was one of the first who made 100% chocolate cylinders, especially aimed at cooking. His story has been made into a very interesting documentary (Willie’s chocolate revolution), showing the struggles of a bean-to-bar chocolate maker starting up and the search for the best final product possible. I’m very lucky to have on of his only two Belgian distribution points located in my home city of Ghent.
The package is typically Willie’s Cacao style. Square and bright. A cream white box shows his twirling logo and a nice “Western” style name of the bar: El Blanco. Venezuelan origin.
On the back, his vision on the product. White chocolate should be light and milky. No added ingredients other than cocoa butter, milk powder and raw cane sugar. Yes, look at that ingredient list! Cocoa butter is the first mentioned (at 36%). Milk powder second (34%). And sugar last. Which means the chocolate only has 30% of sugar in it. I dare you to find an industrial bar where sugar is not the first ingredient on the list!
The chocolate itself is as creamy white as the package. The lush square piece looks clean, simply embossed with a W logo.
Bean: not mentioned
Maker: Willie’s Cacao
Price: € 2,95 – 50 g (De Kouter noten- en fruitboetiek, Ghent)
Batch: L0042 – production 10/10/2017 – best before 10/11/2018
Color: creamy yellow
Aroma: clear roasted cocoa, cream, honey
Taste: The chocolate has a surprising hard snap. Sweet start, without being to overwhelming. Honey, caramel and nuts and a touch of vanilla. In the back there is a slight earthy cocoa note. You are well aware that this is chocolate, not the sweet industrial white chocolate. Flavors are clear and surprisingly more complex than expected . There is no clingy feeling on the tongue. The clear cocoa notes are astonishing, the after flavor keeps them alive and give this bar a light brown color in my mind. You would almost believe it is a delicate milk chocolate.
The aftertaste is quiet chocolaty in nature. Though not as pronounced as dark chocolate – but this is no surprise. It remains close to the main flavor of the chocolate bar and is really enjoyable.
So far, the best white chocolate I’ve experienced. It will not replace a dark chocolate for me, nor does it need to. This is the only reason why my final verdict is a tad lower, but don’t let this fool you. If you crave a piece of quality white chocolate, know that it exists. Willie’s Cacao El Blanco bar will serve your craving flawlessly. And make you come back for more.