Ruby chocolate is coming. The pink-hued creation is the 'biggest innovation in chocolate in 80 years’ according to its maker - renowned chocolatier Barry Callebaut.
According to Callebaut, the chocolate is a ‘true gift from nature’ and contains no artificial or naturally added ingredients to get its striking light pink color.
But how is it made?
When most of us think about chocolate we think of the brown, sweet, slightly bitter product we might enjoy in candy, cars, baked into cakes or drizzled on desserts. This globally popular product is made by drying and fermenting the bitter beans of the cacao tree until they’re edible.
A process that was first invented by Mesoamericans more than 4,000 years ago.
The result from all this drying and fermenting is cocoa which can then be heated into a liquid to separate the cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The next step of mixing these two parts back together is what makes chocolate, though most of the chocolate we consume also contains additional dairy milk and sugar.
Long lost ruby bean
Experts from Barry Callebaut told the press back in 2017 that they had discovered a “ruby” cacao bean that grows in Ivory Coast, Ecuador, and Brazil which they were using to make the ruby chocolate. However, many others in the expert dispute this claim, suggesting that it's more likely the Swiss chocolate maker is actually using regular but unfermented cocoa which has a naturally occurring pink hue.
The exact method of how to make Ruby Chocolate is a closely guarded secret. One clue we have is a 2009 patent filed by Barry Callebaut with the European Patent Office.
The documents describe how to make a “cocoa-derived material red or purple” by minimizing fermentation to three days or less and treating the product with an acid, as well as using petroleum ether to remove fatty acids.
Cocoa beans undergo this process may create a new color or at least preserve the pinkish observed in regular unfermented beans. Chocolate makers watching Barry Callebaut hype the new product also suggest that it must have super high levels of sugar as unfermented cocoa beans are particularly bitter.
One journalist who got to try the treatment at an event in Shanghai was surprised by its lack of chocolate taste.
Where can I get it?
The ruby chocolate isn’t quite there yet. Currently, Barry Callebaut is waiting for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the product to be called ‘chocolate’ before they can launch into the US, but it is available in some places under the name ruby couverture.
The pink chocolate already made a big splash in Asia where KitKat uses the product in its KitKat bars. The chocolate has already been launched in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.