Back to all articles

The History of White Chocolate

White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar. However, it contains none of the cocoa solids that give darker chocolate its rich color and flavor. This history of this sweet treat is somewhat murky. The general consensus, however, is that Nestlé was the first to develop white chocolate commercially in Switzerland in 1936. The story goes that Nestlé created white chocolate as a way to use up extra milk powder that had been produced for World War I but was no longer in demand. It also provided an additional way to use up the extra cocoa butter that is extracted from the cocoa bean as part of the cocoa powder making process. Today, many manufacturers substitute vegetable oil for a portion of deodorized cocoa butter because cocoa butter is highly valued in many industries and therefore quite expensive. In reaction to this, some companies have decided to start making high-quality white chocolate. Interested in picking some up for yourself? High-quality white chocolate should have a short list of ingredients that only includes sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids or milk powder, and, in some cases, lecithin and vanilla. Another clue? High-quality white chocolate should actually be slightly yellow, not white, because cocoa butter is naturally yellow. (Bright white bars are usually a sign that the cocoa butter has been bleached and deodorized.) For a product that started out as a way to use up excess milk powder from World War I, white chocolate has come a long way and is now a staple in many recipes and enjoyed on its own by afficionados all over the world!

Share this article

card showing the history of rocking chairs

Your go-to guide for weird history facts

Subscribe to the FREE daily email that makes learning about history fun.