Intensely sweet and often waxy, white chocolate is typically categorized by the sophisticated cacao cognoscenti as an inferior confection.
But a few chocolatiers have embraced these black--er, white--sheep, turning out high-quality sweets in a paler hue. Here are the ones that will make it into our Halloween loot this year:
Olive and Sinclair: This Nashville-based bean-to-bar operation hooked us with its flavor-rich salt-and-pepper bar. Now it's added buttermilk to white chocolate to give it a Southern twang ($6).
Cocanú: At this company in Portland, Oregon, chocolate matchmaker Sebastián Cisneros blends couvertures from top producers to create wild (and delicious) combinations. For his Othello bar ($4), he tames the saccharine personality of white chocolate with bitter cacao nibs and a touch of coffee from nearby Coava Coffee Roasters.
Xocolatti: At her just-opened New York store, Shaineal Shah turns out hand-painted truffles in flavors such as caramel-sea salt and Champagne, but his experiments with bark show a real flair for ingredient pairings. White chocolate serves as a canvas for mango and paprika in one iteration, and chunks of pistachio and rose hip in another ($25 for a half pound).