Cocoa butter is the ivory-colored natural fat of the cocoa bean extracted during the manufacturing process of producing chocolate and cocoa powder.
It has a very subtle mellow flavor that gives chocolate its creamy smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
The quality of the cocoa butter depends on the quality of the bean it came from and the process of separating it from the chocolate liquor. Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature but it has a low melting point (just below body temperature) and it does change from a solid to a liquid quickly (ie. sharp melting point).
The quality of chocolate depends on the amount of cocoa butter added during processing. The reason a piece of good chocolate melts immediately when eaten is because the melting point of cocoa butter is the same as our internal body temperature. Inferior brands of chocolate use vegetable shortenings instead of cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter is the base of white chocolate along with milk solids, sugar, vanilla and lecithin.
Cocoa butter is expensive and is used both for cosmetics and baking (thinning chocolate, candy making, coating marzipan figures for shine and also prevents them from drying out too fast).
Mainly found through mail order sources.
Store cocoa butter in an airtight container and it will keep several years in the refrigerator.