Discovering pink chocolate: the «Ruby» variety
Since 2017 the «fourth chocolate», developed by the Swiss company Barry Callebaut, has been marketed. The World Gastronomy Institute publishes in this article the conclusions of a sensory study carried out by experts, offering a 'Tasting Card' and suggestions for suitable pairings.
This article is a reprint of a chapter from the book «WGI Global Report 2020 - A Gastronomic Planet», Best in the World Winner at the Gourmand Awards, ´Professional Category´
José Manuel Iglesias, Expert in Organoleptic Tasting, winner of various international competitions and Writer specialized in gastronomy.
In addition to the classic Dark, Milk and White chocolates, now gourmets have a new category of chocolate, Pink chocolate, known as Ruby RB1 Chocolate. This is not a chocolate with added colourants, flavouring or aromas: it is the product derived from a very special and different cocoa called RUBY, responsible for its pinkish color and characteristic flavor, obtained naturally and without additives.
There is great curiosity about this product among gourmets and cooking and pastry professionals. That is why the World Gastronomy Institute (WGI) decided to carry out a preliminary study about Ruby Chocolate in 2020, convening an ´Experts Panel` to develop a ´Tasting Sheet` and select the best pairings for Ruby Chocolate. Among the specialists there were Chefs, Gastronomers, Sensory Tasters, Anthropologists, Winemakers, Baristas, Sommeliers and, of course, Pastry chefs. The experts discussed Ruby and expressed their opinions anonymously, avoiding conditioning their opinions. Different brands were tested such as: Cacao Sampaka, Nestlé (Chocolate Bar «Les Reccetes de L´Atelier» with Raspberry), KitKat made with Ruby Cocoa beans and even an ice cream, the Magnum Ruby, with creamy white chocolate and raspberry with Ruby chocolate coating. This ice cream is marketed by Heartbrand, part of the Unilever Group.
The results of this informal study are reflected in this Overview, which will surely facilitate the knowledge, use and consumption of this peculiar chocolate.
After this «New Chocolate Experience» was discovered by the experts, numerous ideas arose about its consumption and uses to enhance the fruity flavors and aromas of the so-called «fourth chocolate». As a result, the WGI decided to publish an open article as a dissemination exercise, according to its mission and foundational objectives. This document aims to be of interest to both professionals and ´Chocolate lovers`.
History and Context
Pink chocolate was officially presented in Shanghai in 2017 by the Swiss multinational Barry Callebaut Group, ensuring that they have invested almost three decades in R&D. The world premiere was considered the biggest shock for the sector since eighty years before Nestlé introduced white chocolate.
Pink chocolate was officially presented in Shanghai in 2017 by the Swiss multinational Barry Callebaut Group, after almost three decades of R&D investment. This worldwide premiere was considered the biggest impact within the sector for the last eighty years, when Nestlé introduced white chocolate.
Currently there are two main varieties of cocoa recognized, Criollo and Forastero. In addition to a third type, Trinitario, which is actually a hybrid, a cross between Criollo and Forastero, making up about ten different families.
More than two thirds of the cocoa grown are used to extract cocoa powder and cocoa butter for production of chocolate. After the process of harvesting the pods, the fermentation, drying, hulling and grinding are carried out. Then it is observed that the cocoa is reddish, astringent and has a slight acidity, becoming known as «Natural Cocoa».
In order to get a dark color, a more chocolatey flavor and a greater solubility, the product is subject to an alkalization process through a rise in temperature and pressure into a potassium carbonate solution, obtaining the so-called «Alkalinized Cocoa». This transforms the catechins into tannins, modifying cocoa in such a way that reduces the antioxidant and vasodilator effects when consumed. In this standard process is where Barry Callebaut investigated and made changes, allowing them to register Ruby Cocoa as a patent and achieving that unmistakable pink chocolate that has a long commercial path, being available in the market.
The Ruby variety Cacao bean is reddish and, in the production of pink chocolate, the processing of the beans prevails over the rest of the operations, seeking to enhance with the grinding the pinkish color in the cocoa powder. Barry Callebaut grows this cocoa in the Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Ghana.
Chocolate Ruby is characterized by its color and by developing fruity aromas, unusual in other cocoas. Its flavour is fresh and natural, with a mild and kind acidity, standing out from the identifiable bitter, sweet and dairy tones.
Both in bars and in bulk for professionals, its properties and color remain unchanged if it is well preserved.
Food and Drink Pairings
The brands popularizing it are combining it with red berries such as raspberry or strawberry, apparently due to the association of color in the consumer minds and its proven efficacy, since they combine well. But Ruby, like other chocolates , can be harmonized with numerous surprising combinations with other food and beverage products.
Among the most relevant harmonies with other products, the combination with cheeses such as Camembert, Roquefort, Cabrales and Gorgonzola stands out as positive. The fusion in the mouth with sturgeon caviar and other fish roe is pleasant and surprising. A Ruby chocolate at a room temperature between 36 and 36.5 ° C –the temperature of the human body- accompanied in a single bite by some strong and creamy cheese, or the explosive salted fish roe, make the tasting unforgettable.
The Ruby chocolate enjoyed in the Tasting Session took on a new dimension when it was served with a strand of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top, along with a couple of Maldon Salt flakes. Absolutely recommended. For the more daring palates, it can be garnished with a small pinch of ground Rose Piper.
As for the drinks, the chocolate made with Ruby cocoa harmonizes perfectly with Sparkling Wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, Crémant, Cava or Pezsgö. The pairing is better with dry ones, such as Brut, and aesthetically with Rosé. Ruby enhances the flavor of Sparkling Wines, and these allow the chocolate to acquire new qualities that enrich it.
Other wines that stood out in the pairing were the Hungarian Tokaji and the Spanish Albariño (Rías Baixas) and Sherry, from Jerez.
Its consumption with tempered Sake (rice wine of Japanese origin) is considered very successful. Likewise, the tastings carried out with Beer were considered very satisfactory, especially the Stout black beer made by Guinness. Among the light-colored beers tested, the chocolate combinations made with the Spanish ´Mahou Cinco Estrellas Session IPA`, the Indian beer ´Kingfsher`, the Peruvian ´Cusqueña tostada´ and with the Galician ´Estrella Galicia 00 Tostada` stood out.
Regarding Hot Drinks, the most satisfactory tests were with the premium Green Tea of the Sri Lankan company Dilmah, in a 7-minute infusion. As for Coffee, the ones that combined best with pink chocolate were Guatemala Antigua from Cafés La Mexicana prepared in the V60 coffee machine, and Colombia Supremo from Cafés Salzillo, prepared in a Syphon Coffee Maker machine. Regarding capsules, the most valued of the tasting was Nespresso's Master Origin India, evaluating aspects such as the balance of acidity, texture, aromatic profile, intensity or bitterness, in a direct relationship to its consumption together with chocolate.
As anecdote, some of the experts participating in the tasting suggested that the taste of Ruby cocoa harmonizes perfectly with the smoke flavor of the Havana Cigars.