White Chocolate

What’s the Deal with Blonde Chocolate?

February 12, 2018

Hershey’s, purveyors of some of the world’s most popular candy, recently announced that for every gold medal the U.S. team wins over the course of the Winter Olympics, they will launch a special giveaway. The first 10,000 people to click on a promotional link on the company’s Facebook and Twitter will receive a coupon for $1.50 off a bar of their Hershey’s Gold. That all sounds great—I love chocolate and gold medals—but what exactly is Hershey’s Gold?

The Hershey’s bar in question is made from caramelized white chocolate, otherwise known as blonde chocolate. The process renders white chocolate, milky white and intensely saccharine, a shade of brown akin to, well, caramel. Blonde chocolate has a toastier, fuller taste than its pale predecessor. In recent years, blonde chocolate has gone from well-kept industry secret to mainstream indulgence. Recently, it even figured into the ingredients list of a special Starbucks mocha.

It’s relatively new: blonde chocolate wasn’t even discovered—accidentally, at that!—until 2006 by chocolate makers at Valrhona. To make it, chocolatiers roast chips of white chocolate (made from cocoa beans, sugar, and milk solids) at somewhere between 200° F and 275° F and stir it constantly to keep it from burning. The heat turns the chocolate a nice milky-coffee color and coaxes out a totally new flavor profile. After it’s melted, it can temper back into hard chocolate and be treated the same as its dark, milk, or white cousins.

Since 2006, it’s charted a slow trajectory from industry-insider knowledge to its current position on our candy aisles and all over the Olympics. Hershey’s version comes studded with pretzels and peanuts, a salty complement to the caramelly sweetness. So whether or not you’re lucky enough to win a part of the Hershey’s promotion, at least you know what it’s about.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


carol M. February 17, 2018
Bland tasting to me, no "wow factor" nothing about the taste that would want me to buy again! However I am a DARK chocolate fan !
Carol A. February 20, 2018
Yes white chocolate is pretty bland as is, but it is transformed to a golden rich cream when slow roasted.
Carol A. February 15, 2018
I have caramelized Valrhona white chocolate ..and it took 3 hours..but worth it. Absolutely delicious!
Kayla February 14, 2018
I'm a food science student at the University of Wisconsin and I'm actually studying this right now... Hershey's is technically compound coating not real chocolate plus the whole process is really Maillard browning not caramelization (it tastes the same but there's milk proteins involved) but I'm happy it's getting all this attention!
Linda F. February 14, 2018
Godiva makes a really tasty version too!