The History of White Chocolate, A Twentieth-Century Tale
Unlike Daniel Peter and milk chocolate, the exact inventor of white chocolate seems to have been lost to the sands of time. There are rumors of a New Hampshire man producing white chocolate shortly after World War I . . . because he had encountered it somewhere in Europe. A more promising candidate may be Kuno Baedeker, who developed a white chocolate in 1945 and is widely considered the first creator of white chocolate in North America; however, the Nestlé chocolate company was definitely producing white chocolate by the 1930s in Europe. For lack of more information, it appears that Nestlé rests at the heart of the creation and development of white chocolate in the twentieth-century.
Introduced in 1936, the Galak bar is generally considered to be the first white chocolate bar. Nestlé released it alongside the Rayon bar (chocolate with honey and air bubbles) in response to an increasingly competitive chocolate market. It would be rebranded in English-speaking countries as the Milkybar; however, it would not be the first white chocolate bar widely available in the United States.
The first mass-distributed white chocolate product in the US market was actually the Alpine White bar, though it was also a Nestlé product. It was released around 1948 and featured the inclusion of almonds in the chocolate.
The Alpine White bar was discontinued in the early 1990s (to the great disappoint of some), but today, almost every major chocolate company produces some kind of white chocolate product. One reason for this may be that it simply makes good financial sense. As discussed in the previous white chocolate post, the cocoa bean is over fifty-percent cocoa butter. As a result, when chocolate companies produce dark chocolate, they will inevitably have unused cocoa butter left over. Producing white chocolate is a logical use of that extra cocoa butter.
White chocolate may be a relatively new – and controversial – addition to the chocolate line-up, but I for one am thankful for it’s inventor, whomever that may be, and am a fan of it’s “sweet dream.” Yum!