Just when you thought you’d settled on your favourite type of chocolate – milk, dark or white – another variety enters the mix: ruby. Featuring a distinctly pink tinge and berry-like flavour, ruby is the first new type of chocolate to be released in 80 years. Nestle secured a six-month exclusive licence to sell ruby at the start of 2018, releasing it in Japan in KitKat form. Now the chocolate is available in the wild, and Spanish-inspired chocolateria San Churro is rolling it out nationwide.
“We haven’t seen a change in the industry like this since white chocolate was introduced to the world,” says Tim Clark, co-owner of Melbourne-based chocolate manufacturer Cacao. “It’s only been out in the last year. Behind Belgium, France and Japan, Australia was the fourth nation to have the opportunity to experience it.”
So what is ruby chocolate? Developed and patented by Belgian chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, the process behind making it is a closely guarded secret. Rather than being from a new plant or species of cocoa bean, characteristics of existing plants have been exploited to produce a different style of chocolate.
“They are very cagey [about] what information they give out,” says Clark, former head pastry chef of Crown Melbourne. “What I believe they’ve done is ferment the bean for less time than they’d normally do. With shorter fermentation there are more sour notes and a slightly pink tinge to the bean, giving you the flavour profile and ruby appearance. No flavouring or colouring has been put in.”
Broadsheet was invited by San Churro to try the ruby chocolate. At first taste, it's quite sweet – although not as sweet as white chocolate – with a flavour somewhere between raspberry and cherry: cranberry, perhaps. To finish, it has a bitter aftertaste reminiscent of dark chocolate.
Ruby will no doubt prove popular with chocolate fans, though it remains to be seen how many consumers will embrace the difference. It’s also likely that imitations will hit the shelves, potentially rendering the invention a passing novelty to all but true chocolate connoisseurs. Time (and patent protection) will tell.
San Churro’s “Real Ruby” menu is available nationwide and includes churros with ruby chocolate sauce, truffles, rocky road and a one-hour, $35 “ruby chocolate experience” featuring a chocolate tasting and churros with ruby chocolate. Additional menu items will follow in November.