What is ruby chocolate and how are chefs using it?

Students of the baking and pastry arts are always on the lookout for desserts with bold flavors and a striking appearance. One sure way to get the attention of people who have devoted their careers to crafting amazing sweets is to announce the invention of a new kind of chocolate. That’s just what happened in September 2017, when the Swiss cocoa company Barry Callebaut declared that its scientists had created ruby chocolate.

The first new natural chocolate variety to be developed in decades still has limited availability. However, its unique look and flavor are capturing the attention of dessert-lovers everywhere. When you learn more about ruby chocolate, you may begin thinking about how you might make it part of your own baking innovations.

What makes ruby chocolate different?

“Ruby was the first new type of chocolate in 80 years.”

According to its manufacturer, ruby chocolate is the fourth natural type of chocolate – along with dark, milk and white – and the first new variety to be introduced since white first appeared 80 years earlier. Barry Callebaut’s research and development teams spent over a decade developing a recipe using special ruby cocoa beans grown in the Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil.

The resulting chocolate is very different from what you’d find in the candy aisle at your local drugstore, beginning with its distinctive pink hue. The taste also stands in sharp contrast to the classics, described as intense, yet smooth and berry-like. Though the recipe is a trade secret, Barry Callebaut explained that these characteristics are the natural result of the beans used and that no artificial fruit flavor has been added.

The makers expect the new chocolate will make a big splash among younger consumers who appreciate both beauty and indulgence in their desserts. If ruby chocolate catches on, dessert-lovers can expect to see it adopted for a wide range of culinary uses.

Ruby chocolate is recognized for its natural, soft pink color.

How the latest type of chocolate is being used

Ruby chocolate may still be very new, but it’s already taking on some intriguing forms. First, January brought the release of Nestle’s KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby, a pink-colored take on the well-known chocolate-covered wafers.

As CNN reported, Japanese pastry chef Yasumasa Takagi created the recipe to utilize ruby chocolate, the latest in a series of innovative KitKat bars that he has masterminded. His past creations have contributed to exploding popularity for the brand in Japan with creative flavor concepts including matcha green tea, strawberry maple and butter. The new bar sold out quickly after it went on sale at KitKat Chocolatory boutique stores in Japan and South Korea and online in territories such as the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Switzerland.

For a limited time in February, one of KitKat’s Tokyo boutiques offered a hot cocoa made from a puree of ruby chocolate and raspberry. According to Rocket News 24, the establishment served its pink, Valentine’s Day-appropriate beverage in an espresso cup, accompanied by a single ruby KitKat. That meant patrons could experience the innovative new chocolate in two ways.

What’s next for ruby?

Ruby chocolate may prove to have a versatile range of uses as it’s rolled out to new markets over the next year. Exactly how bakers and pastry chefs will make the most of the berry taste and unusual coloring remains to be seen. Food blogger Sarah Phillips told The Guardian it would require some technical experimentation to see if the chocolate stood up well to melting, tempering and molding.

Cooking professionals and students who are passionate about taking chocolate in exciting new directions should keep an eye on the latest developments with ruby. You may find a great opportunity to create a fresh approach to your favorite recipes.

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