In late 2017, Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut announced the discovery and production of a so-called fourth type of chocolate. Joining dark, milk and white, ruby had now entered the chocolate family. There were skeptics, of course. The New York Times noted that people were still debating whether or not white chocolate should even be considered chocolate, let alone ruby.
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But in less than a year, ruby chocolate has in fact taken the world by storm. Wolfgang Puck served ruby chocolate strawberries and cream at an Oscars after party, and press snacked on it during the awards ceremony, as well. Kitkat announced a ruby version of its signature candy. A Japanese “chocolatory boutique” debuted the first ruby hot chocolate.
Ruby chocolate is certainly on its way. Here’s what you need to know:
First of all, it’s pink
Like, really pink. Pantone Color of the Year pink. Sofia Coppola pink. Rose gold iPhone pink. #Roséallday pink. And its color comes naturally; Ruby chocolate draws its pink hue entirely from the red bean of the cocoa plant – specifically the cocoa plants grown in Ecuador, Brazil and Ivory Coast. These plants contain naturally occurring chemical compounds absent in beans cultivated elsewhere.
The recipe is a secret
The formula took 13 years to perfect. Callebaut won’t go into specifics about how it formulated the chocolate breakthrough, but it’s obviously capable of being produced at scale if Kitkat is dipping a toe into the ruby chocolate pool. Plus, Callebaut is quite literally the largest cocoa processor in the world. You might not have ever heard of the company, or the man behind it, but Callebaut is the one supplying some of the world’s biggest candy makers with their chocolate.
It tastes entirely different than dark, milk & white chocolate
Callebaut says ruby tastes like “a tension between berry fruitiness and luscious smoothness.” It’s also been described as being tart and fruity; reminiscent of a berry you’ve never tasted before; and entirely mind-blowing. Others still describe it as having notes of lemon and cherry. YouTube taste-test videos may be your best shot at learning more about the flavor until ruby chocolate makes its expansion into U.S. stores.
I’t s a hit
The initial ruby Kitkat test run in Japan sold out almost immediately. The new chocolate is so in-demand that a ruby black market has sprung up online, where 10 pieces of the pink-hued candies are selling for more than $100. That’s about a 500% markup from the original retail price. Valentine’s Day brought with it such a demand that Forbes remarked that Nestlé has struck gold with the new confection.
There are haters
Business Insider suggested readers stuff their mouths with white chocolate, milk chocolate and a few raspberries instead of trying some ruby chocolate. Chocolate maker Dom Ramsey told the NYT that “’Ruby chocolate’ is very much a marketing term.” New Zealand chocolate judge (Where do I apply for this job?) Luke Owen Smith said ruby chocolate is on “the fringe of what I would want to call chocolate”.
It’s going to cost you
Nestlé is keeping mum about how much it paid to be the first company to launch a ruby chocolate product, but you can bet there were plenty of zeros at the end of the figure. A single ruby Kitkat currently retails for about $4 USD in Korea. There’s a waiting list of chefs and chocolatiers in Europe begging to get their hands on the stuff. It’s been described as the most exciting thing to happen to chocolate in more than 80 years. Whether it’s purely due to demand, or rather something in the secretive production, you can expect to pay more for ruby chocolate than its more traditional varieties when it breaks into the U.S. market.