Ruby Chocolate: The New Fourth Variety
Everyone knows that there are three types of chocolate, Dark, Milk and White. Except, there is now a new pink coloured variety, called ruby chocolate.
It is the first time a new category of chocolate has been introduced to the world, since Nestlé’s white chocolate, 80 years ago. Funnily enough, Nestle is leading the way with this one also as they unveiled their new KitKat Ruby.
But how do they make it, what does it taste like, and will it be accepted by the worlds chocolate loving community?
Ruby chocolate had been in development for 13 years before finally being introduced to the world in 2017, at a private event in Shanghai. It was created by the Belgium-Swiss company, Barry Callebaut. They say that their ruby chocolate is made using ruby cocoa beans grown in the Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil. They have tried to keep their production method a secret, but of course, chocolate makers around the world have been trying to figure it out.
Who is the new chocolate targeted at? Peter Boone, from Barry Callebaut, said: ruby chocolate “satisfies a new consumer need found among Millennials – Hedonistic Indulgence.”1
They are targeting the new Instagram age of sharing fancy food in all sorts of bright colours on social media.
What does it taste like?
I’m sure the first thing everyone is wondering if you haven’t already tried it is, what exactly does it taste like. Well, Barry Callebaut describes it as “a totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet, but a tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness.”2 Well that is how the maker tries to sell it, but what does it actually taste like.
I have only had the opportunity of trying the Ruby KitKat, but I will endeavour to order some Ruby chocolate bars and will add the review to this post. I want to get a fuller experience of what this new variety tastes like. As for the ruby KitKat, it didn’t really have any cocoa flavour but tasted more like white chocolate with raspberry undertones. It is definitely very creamy and light, but with a kick of berries later on. I’ll be honest, it isn’t my type of chocolate, but I can see it taking off and many people loving it.
As for pure ruby chocolate, Tiffany Dunk at lifestylefood describes it as “sweet… in line with milk chocolate sugar levels” but with a punch of berry.” She says that this “lends a hint of sourness which helps it feel less “sickly”.”3
If any of you have tried ruby chocolate, please comment below to let us know what you thought about it.
Ruby Cocoa Beans
Ruby chocolate is made from, what is being described as, the ruby cocoa bean, which is what gives the chocolate its deep pink colour. There are three main varieties of the cacao plant: Crillio, Forastero and Trinitario. So, is the ruby variety a new kind of cocoa bean?
When I first heard about the Ruby cocoa bean I got the impression that it was something new. However, the Ruby cocoa bean is not a new strain, but a feature that can appear naturally in all cocoa beans. A great article by foodmaven explains it well, “Ruby is the name given to beans that contain chemical compounds that occur naturally in all cocoa beans that in Ruby beans occur in a specific ratio and above a minimum level.”4 So, Barry Callebaut seeks out cocoa beans that have the characteristics needed (reddish purple colour) and use a certain processing technique to retain the colour in the final chocolate.
So how exactly do they make it?
Barry Callebaut have been trying to keep their processing technique a secret. They say that ruby chocolate “involves no berries, flavours, colourants or genetically-modified ingredients”5 to achieve its pink hue and flavour. But as soon as Ruby chocolate was announced to the world, chocolate makers have been trying to figure out how John Nanci from Chocolate Alchemist instinctively knew that “the colour comes from processing” and that “it is unclear if the beans that are being processed are even fermented.”6 Fermentation builds a large part of the chocolate flavour and also darkens the beans. This would explain why ruby chocolate is not a dark colour and why it tastes so “un-chocolatey”. John also refers to a Bloomberg article that claims “the unusual color comes from the powder extracted during processing.”7 Therefore, it must surely be that this powder is then added to the cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder to make ruby chocolate. It is a similar combination when making milk chocolate.
It was actually their patent application, which may have revealed some of these secrets. “US 2005/0031762 discloses the production of a low-fat cocoa extract by adding acetic acid to fresh seeds and/or underfermented seeds.”8 It seems that they treat unfermented or minimally fermented cocoa beans, with the reddish purple characteristics, in an acidic environment, most probably using citric acid.
Who can use it?
I’m sure there are people out there that would like to get hold of some ruby chocolate for themselves. Or others, like myself, that would like some ruby cocoa beans to try and make our own ruby chocolate.
However, ruby cocoa beans will not be made available by Barry Callebaut and they will only sell wholesale ruby chocolate to other businesses.9
I have seen individual bars and small packets of ruby chocolate buttons for sale on a number of websites, but they are not particularly cheap.
I will add a few links at the bottom of the page if anyone would like to buy some.
Can you make ruby chocolate at home?
The great news is that the term ‘ruby’ when it comes to chocolate, has not been trademarked and so can be used by anyone. They are hoping the word will be spread by chocolatiers and chocolate businesses around the world and to ingrain itself into the psyche of the people as the fourth variety of chocolate.
I think it would be difficult for most of us to try and recreate the same ruby chocolate ourselves. There is no ruby chocolate recipe floating around on the internet and as the process is patented, we can only really guess to how they actually do it.
You could dye white chocolate pink or just buy some ruby chocolate, melt it down and be as creative as you like with it.
What do I think about it?
I think any new innovation is exciting and although I personally might not choose to eat it as a standalone bar of chocolate, I can see the multitude of possibilities it offers to bakers, chocolatiers and every other chocolate lover at home.
People are always sceptical of something new, just as they were when white chocolate first came out, and look at it now. There are so many different flavour combinations and creative varieties and I think ruby chocolate offers the same possibilities.
So what do you think about ruby chocolate? Do you consider it the fourth variety of chocolate? Have you tried it yourself?
Please let us know in the comment section below.
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