Like many baking novices, I’ve learned about a lot of new ingredients and techniques from “The Great British Bake Off.” But perhaps the most interesting (and aesthetically pleasing) tidbit I’ve seen on the show is “ruby chocolate.”
During the 2020 season, contestant Sura Selvarajah baked dark and ruby chocolate-swirled brownies with Italian meringue. That same year, Marc Elliott used ruby chocolate in his ginger, cherry and pistachio Florentines. And in the previous season, Priya O’Shea baked ruby barfi biscuit bars.
As the name suggests, ruby chocolate has a lovely pinkish hue, but beyond looks, it was otherwise a mystery to me when it first appeared on-screen.
So what is the deal with ruby chocolate and why hadn’t I heard of it before? I asked the company behind this product and a couple of chocolate experts to break it down.
What is ruby chocolate?
“Ruby chocolate is a proprietary product created and patented by Barry Callebaut,” said Megan Giller, the author of “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution” and founder of Chocolate Noise Tastings. “It’s millennial pink and tastes fruity.”
Ruby chocolate is relatively new. Indeed, Barry Callebaut (a Swiss chocolate manufacturer) revealed “the fourth type of chocolate” at an event in Shanghai in September 2017, and the first mass market release of a product containing ruby chocolate came a few months later in early 2018.
“Eighty years after the last ‘new’ type ― white chocolate ― was invented, now there’s a completely new taste and experience. The taste can be described as a ‘tango of berry fruitiness and luscious smoothness,’” Bas Smit, vice president of global marketing at Barry Callebaut, told HuffPost.
He added that the final product came after “more than 10 years” of research and development and, since its introduction, has been available to consumers in different forms through brands like KitKat, Chocolove, Magnum, Starbucks, Prestat and more.
What is it made of?
“Callebaut says it’s a blend of beans from Brazil, the Ivory Coast and Ecuador,” Giller noted. “The company says it doesn’t add color and that the pinkness comes from how the cocoa beans are processed. As far as I know, no one can buy ‘ruby beans’ or ruby chocolate without other ingredients already added: It always comes from Callebaut and includes sugar, milk and other ingredients in addition to cocoa beans.”
As an industrial supplier, Barry Callebaut sells its products to large companies and artisanal chocolatiers, rather than straight to consumers. So you have to go to a third-party source for ruby chocolate goods. Looking at what’s available on the market, the list of ingredients tends to include sugar, milk, citric acid, soy lecithin, vanilla, and cocoa butter.
Smit emphasized that ruby chocolate, also known as ruby RB1, is made from the ruby cocoa bean.
How does it compare to dark, milk and white chocolate?
“I think the flavor of ruby chocolate is most similar to a white chocolate with raspberries or strawberries added to it,” Giller said. “Both are super creamy and sweet.”
Frayard described the taste as having “an intense fruitiness with fresh sour notes” that aren’t present in dark, milk or white chocolate.