We Tried It: Ruby Chocolate
Though not a chocoholic, I certainly won't say no to a little bit of of the good stuff. As a kid I loved the sweet creaminess of milk chocolate, but dark is my preferred vice now that I'm an adult. I love the bitterness that demands me to sit back and slow down for a moment – even longer if a glass of red wine is involved. As for white chocolate, I never gave it much thought. But now I find out there's a fourth kind of chocolate?! And it's pink?!
Though it was announced in 2017, this rosy confection's debut on the scene was delayed after some wrangling with the FDA on whether or not to call it chocolate. Like the other kinds, Ruby Chocolate, as it's now officially known, comes from the cacao fruit; except these are red ones sourced from Brazil, Ecuador, and the Ivory Coast. The color of the fruit is what gives this chocolate its blush, its creator insists no dyes or coloring are involved. All chocolate is made from fermenting, drying, and roasting the cacao seed, which are made up of solids (the cacao nibs) and liquids (cocoa butter). The nibs bring the flavor (hence different percentage on the labels of dark chocolate), and the cocoa butter give it its mouthfeel. White chocolate only uses cocoa butter; while dark, milk, and ruby use both parts. After some deliberation, the FDA recently approved this latest invention as chocolate under their "standards of identity."
I didn't know what to expect when I got my package of Ruby Chocolate bars from Cacao & Cardamom, a confectionary in Texas. I wondered if I would find it uninteresting like white chocolate; I was pretty sure it wouldn't taste like my beloved dark. "Chocolate is known to have more flavor notes than wine itself, lending itself to being quite a complex superfood," says the store's owner and chocolatier Annie Rupani. I couldn't wait to sample this completely new form of such a familiar food.
I had three bars to try and decided to start with the Ruby Chocolate Snacking Bar, a narrow bar a little wider than a Twix, made of 100% ruby chocolate. I bit in and it was definitely weird as part of me was a expecting creamy milk chocolate flavor and another part of me was expecting bland white. It didn't taste like either one; rather it was smooth and creamy with the tiniest hint of sour fruitiness. It was mild in my mouth and didn't have the cloying sweetness of milk chocolate; though it wasn't as seductive and bitter as dark. It's sort of a flirty chocolate, fun to eat and intriguing. It kind of tasted, well ... pink!
The Ruby Raspberry Pistachio Candy Bar sort of looked like a Twix's fabulous and girly, millennial cousin. Its soft texture with the slightest crisp was made up of a blend of raspberry pâtéde fruit, pistachio ganache, and pistachio nougatine encased in a ruby chocolate shell. I couldn't get over how creamy and decadent this tasted; like a flirty adult treat. The nuts and fruits married beautifully with the flavor of the ruby chocolate and showcased just how different the flavor profiles used with this newcomer could be. As a chocolate, this bar tasted sort of refreshing.
Finally I sampled the gorgeous Ruby Raspberry Artisan Bar. Made of 33% ruby chocolate, freeze dried raspberries and strawberries, and "ivoire pearls," it resembles a fine jewel some magnificent royal might have owned. The taste was like strawberries and cream with an edge. The creaminess and sour notes of the chocolate supports fruit flavors beautifully. Dark chocolate contrasts with fruit, whereas Ruby Chocolate supports it.
There's something sexy about the flavor – not overt like the seduction of dark chocolate but lighter and more romantic. Ruby Chocolate is a beautiful sight for the eyes and a bit of a thoughtful treat for the mouth. This is a confection you'll want to savor rather than devour. It's a new dawn in chocolate!
Chocolatiers seem to be excited about this new medium in sweets. Rupani told me, "Ruby chocolate gives us a new medium to play with the tanginess, acidity, and fruitiness. Ruby has been under intense scrutiny, but for us, it allows for more creativity and more mediums to infuse different spices, fruits, and herbs to create unique pieces of chocolate." Her creations are definitely accomplishing that.
It looks like the trend will be catching on. Not only is this chocolate available from fine chocolatiers like Cacao & Cardamom, mainstream manufacturers are already thinking pink. Ruby chocolate is here to stay!