A week after the announcement of the candidate “4th type of chocolate” in the Chinese city of Shanghai, the rumor about RUBY, the all-natural pink-shaded and berry-flavored chocolate developed by the leading B2B chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut in the last 13 years, has already provoked mixed and conflicting feelings among chocoholics and various professionals in the cocoa and chocolate industry.
While the media have profusely divulged the launch of RUBY in the last seven days, there are already not only opinions but mere conjectures based on beliefs—rather than knowledge—without having actually tasted the newly announced chocolate.
Therefore, to whom and what opinions can we give credit?
I confess that I was—and, partly, still I am—one of the fiercest skeptics among those involved in the debate about the details intentionally kept hidden in the process and ingredients of RUBY chocolate. What I can say, for what my personal experience is as a regular chocolate consumer and what my professional background in food science would suggest, is that I would rather trust an article written by someone who really attended the RUBY preview event and tasted the chocolate.
As a member of The Chocolate Life community for a couple of years, I found of relevant interest the article published by its founder and moderator Clay Gordon.
A sort of obsessive “quest for the holy grail” about possible processes and formulations has led chocolate lovers astray from the main reason I found Clay’s article so interesting: the sensory description of RUBY chocolate. In fact, by rereading the post after a few days, I am better able to figure out what makes RUBY quite disturbing among many chocoholics.
Nearly a century after the invention of white chocolate, there are still many preconceptions embodied in the mind and perception of people who base their own chocolate consumption style on only the dark type for reasons already outdated for a long time (more cocoa, less sugar, “real chocolate”, etc..)
Those who, like me, despite adoring dark chocolates at high cocoa percentages, have also maintained the hedonistic horizon open to an inclusive and inquiring tasting experience on other types of chocolate (milk, but above all white) the idea of RUBY as described on Clay Gordon’s article becomes revealing:
The aroma is faint but distinctly fruity, with none of the sweetness that is characteristic of most white chocolates and many milk chocolates. There is no detectable vanilla on the nose.
The texture is very much like a very fine milk chocolate verging on white chocolate when it comes to melt and mouthfeel—rich and buttery.
These factors may lead some people to belittle RUBY Chocolate as not being “real” chocolate, just as many people think that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate.
Having actually tasted so many versions of white chocolate (with sour buttermilk, infused with green matcha tea or strawberry powder, with cayenne pepper and turmeric, with goat’s milk and pistachios, with cocoa nibs sprinkled, infused with coffee, lemon and lavender, or vegan with coconut milk… and even one from the same maker but crafted with two different origins of cocoa butter), I can almost assuredly assert that the description given on RUBY would not match any of the chocolate tasted so far.
So, I really think that even those who are demonizing RUBY now might effectively change their mind in the near future, considering the sensory experience given by the new, all-natural pastel pink chocolate.
Nonetheless, it is also true that as gauging our taste-buds with different recipes of white chocolate is not an experience that everyone enjoys, so also that of RUBY will probably be similar, with a share of people that won’t give a chance to different variations of RUBY.
While keeping to assess new cacao origins and dark chocolate bars is always commendable as chocolate aficionados, it’s some time I have been preaching how the part of the industry where maverick approaches and appealing applications are mostly concentrated is on types of chocolate other than dark.
As most people today are not entirely aware of the existence of milk (and even white) chocolate bars with less sugar added than a standard 70% dark chocolate and professionals who never heard of “milk chocolate crumbs”, let’s see if RUBY will really get its own standard of identity recognized in the next months or years.
The official commercial of RUBY Chocolate presented at the launching event. Credit: yondr.