Barry Callebaut Makes Ruby Chocolate Couverture
You don’t need to be a chocoholic to know that there are three basic kinds of chocolate: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. From these three basic flavors, thousands of varieties of confections are formed. In September 2017 the Swiss chocolate giant Barry Callebaut AG, the world's largest cocoa processor, announced that they have succeeded in creating the fourth type of chocolate and it's called Ruby Chocolate. Just 80 years since the invention of white chocolate, this fourth kind of chocolate is creating quite a stir in the world of chocolate.
The look & feel of ‘Ruby Chocolate’
Image: Ruby chocolate (image source)
Currently, it’s not available for the majority of masses as Callebaut only makes the bulk chocolate and not the consumer products that would go with it. This is what Raphael Warmth wrote on the company’s Facebook page: “So far you cannot buy the Ruby chocolate. This very much depends on our customers when Ruby chocolate will be available … as we are a B2B company and selling Ruby chocolate to food manufacturers. Usually, it takes from 6 up to 18 months until an innovation from our side hits the retail shelves.”
Ruby chocolate was launched to a panel of chocolate experts in Shanghai, China. So for now, we have only news media to rely on to know how does it look and taste. It certainly does look a beautiful shade of pink which has been touted to be all natural, a result of the Ruby cocoa bean’s pigment. This has added a certain appeal to this chocolate.
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According to the company’s CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique:
“It's natural chocolate. It comes with a ruby color and a taste which is absolutely unique, which is the taste of chocolate, which there are freshnessand fruitiness to it."
As per their press release, this fourth type in chocolate offers a totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet, but a binding between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness.The company has been adamant that to create Ruby chocolate no berries or berry flavor, nor color is added.
Angus Kenned, renowned Chocolate expert, and editor of industry bible Kennedy's Confection was one of the few lucky ones who get to try the ruby chocolate at the launch event in Shanghai. He described the taste of this pink chocolate as: “Ruby chocolate is very different and clever stuff. It’s refreshing and has a light, creamy texture. It tastes so light and fruity you don't really realize you're gobbling up one chocolate the other, so it means consumers will be able to eat more of it than other types of conventional chocolate. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your point of view.” He further added: “It’s also sweet like traditional chocolate but, instead of the warm, cloying feel and flavor, the taste is zingy and fresh. It even leaves the palate cleansed and refreshed”
Reception of Ruby Chocolate in Shanghai
Image: Reception of Ruby Chocolate in Shanghai (image source)
Majority of chocolate experts, who experienced the taste of Ruby chocolate agreed that it does not taste like conventional chocolate but more like white chocolate. Perhaps one of the reasons for the launch of Ruby chocolate in China was because white chocolate is quite popular there as compared to the rest of the world.
Millennials are the target audience for Ruby chocolate
Ruby chocolate may not find a special place in the hearts of die-hard chocolate lovers who would rather go for the dark cocoa bean taste or prefer their chocolate to taste like chocolate instead of a red berry fruity flavor. However, Ruby chocolate may find its niche among the younger crowd, especially those who are on the lookout for a new ‘hedonistic indulgence’. This new chocolate has been marketed as a response to growing demand among millennials for luxury products that are healthy and do not compromise on taste. As per Maria Mogelonsky, director of insight at Mintel:
“The unexpected pink color of the new chocolate is likely to find its way onto social media platforms of myriad millennials, for whom the ‘fun’ aspect of food is a purchase driver.”
Discovery of Ruby Chocolate
The possibility of ruby chocolate was discovered by accident about 13 years ago by the Barry Callebaut research department as it studied cocoa beans. Germany's Jacobs University in Bremen cooperated in the development.The innovation is based on a special type of cocoa bean after about a decade of development.
The cocoa beans that are used to make Ruby chocolate come from the Ivory Coast, Ecuador, and Brazil. The unusual pink color comes from the powder extracted during processing. Ruby chocolate is derived naturally by isolating specific compounds in cocoa beans. While the red cocoa powder has been produced by several companies, this is the first time a natural pinkish chocolate has been produced. To retain its pink color, the fermentation process for the beans is entirely eliminated thus giving the chocolate a berry flavor and pinkish red appearance without any addition of berries or artificial colors. However, there is not much information available on the exact making of pink chocolate because the process of making Ruby chocolate is not a patent but instead guarded as a trade secret. According to the Barry Callebaut Chef:
“You need to find the specific beans and to process them in a specific way to release the color and flavor in a natural way. It’s a very clean label.”
Right now it is too soon to predict whether the Ruby chocolate will turn out to be a gem in the world of chocolates. There has been quite a mixed review online after the launch. Some think a fourth category in chocolates has real potential to be as widespread as other types of chocolate, while others have perceived it as just a marketing gimmick. However the Barry Callebaut Company is pretty confident over their new invention and they believe this new category of chocolate on its own will be awarded a section in confectionary.
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