Monday, February 17, 2020
It happened last December while reading Roseann Tully’s Intermezzo Magazine. I came across an article on the “new chocolate” called Ruby Chocolate. And immediately realized I was hopelessly behind a new trend! A little research was required.
So, let’s begin with where chocolate originates: the cocoa bean.
Cocoa trees grow in an area ranging from 20 degrees to the north and 20 degrees to the south of the Equator. The cocoa bean is the seed of Theobroma cacao. The pod (fruit) of the cocoa tree contains about 30 to 50 large seeds. The seed (cocoa bean) is fermented and dried. Once that is done, the beans are graded, packed into sacks, bundled, quality checked, and shipped to market. The final steps are usually a secret of the chocolate producers. The boutique chocolatiers, as well as the behemoth companies like Hershey, Nestle and Mars, all process their chocolate with proprietary recipes. It takes about 400 beans to produce a pound of chocolate and that process begins with the roasting, winnowing and grinding that results in a paste which will, ultimately, become the candy in your heart-shaped Valentine!!!
A French company, Cacao Barry, merged with the Belgium company, Callebaut in 1996. Together they became the large chocolate company Barry Callebaut which, today, operates over 30 companies worldwide from its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2004, Barry Callebaut began developing ruby chocolate. On September 5, 2017, at a private event in Shanghai, they introduced “the 4th type of chocolate” to the world. At the end of 2019, it came to the United States. Today, it takes its place alongside Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and White Chocolate.
KitKat was the first candy bar to use the ruby chocolate as a couverture (coating). Now, we were intrigued! We just had to try this stuff. Surprisingly, in December of 2019, we couldn’t find it in any store; so, we ordered from Amazon.com!!! Our experiment entailed softening the KitKat in the microwave and scrapping off the chocolate so we could taste only the ruby chocolate. Our conclusion: it had the same texture of any chocolate but with a fruity, berry-like flavor and a tart finish at the back of the tongue. This is not a chocolate taste, but it is as smooth as chocolate with a unique and subtle flavor all its own.
Later, we found the Chocolove Ruby Cacao Bar and confirmed our assessment.
By January 2020, we found more and more products becoming available. In February, World Market was offering a selection of products. In the name of research, we tried them all. Yum!!
Next month, we’ll be in Grenada. Known as he Spice Isle, this Caribbean island is famous for its nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cocoa. We’ll try to visit a cocoa plantation and experience the “Bean to Bar Chocolate Tour. You know we’ll write about it!
Meanwhile, should you come across anything made with the Ruby Cocoa Bean, give it a try and let us know what you think!