Ruby chocolate, if you listen to the hype, is a gastronomical miracle. Not a flavoured chocolate - a new type of chocolate, the first new chocolate type discovered in 80 years, adding to the traditional canon of milk, white and dark. But what is it actually? And where can you get it in Australia if you do want to try it? We've got the deets for you right here.
What Is Ruby Chocolate?
Ruby chocolate, as stressed by its inventors and retailers, is not just white chocolate with colours and flavours. It's a distinct variety of chocolate produced from so-called 'ruby cocoa beans' - not a new variety of bean, but rather those that have certain qualities that qualify them to be made into ruby chocolate.
Unlike its fellow chocolate types in milk, dark and white chocolate, ruby chocolate is a protected development from a single company, the Belgian-Swiss Barry Callebaut. So not everyone can just make their own ruby chocolate, and nor do we know exactly how its made - the recipe is a trade secret.
Experts have speculated, however, and one of the most commonly accepted theories is that ruby chocolate is made from unfermented cocoa beans. Regular chocolate is made from fermented cocoa beans, and it's during this process that the beans get their distinctive rich flavour and dark brown colour.
Some believe that ruby chocolate is made from beans that are either unfermented, or only fermented for a short time, giving it a more fresh, berry-like flavour. Think of it like the difference between green tea and black tea.
So now you know (basically) what ruby chocolate actually is: but does it taste any good?
What Does Ruby Chocolate Taste Like?
I was recently in Belgium, where local chocolate producers have all jumped aboard the ruby chocolate train. This gave me the opportunity to try it fresh and basically from its place of origin.
Ruby chocolate comes in a number of different mauve-pink shades, which can be darker or lighter. It's also a little duller texturally than traditional chocolate, without the telltale shine of a beautiful piece of milk or dark. This means the tempering process for ruby chocolate is probably different to that of its browner cousins.
Unlike white chocolate, it's not all that sweet, even tasting a little tart while being rounded out by the mellowness of fatty cocoa solids. I would compare it to fruits like pomegranate or fresh cranberries, fruity and sweet but with a little sour bite.
If you're a big fan of dark or milk chocolate I have to be honest with you, you probably won't like it. It's not bad tasting, but it also doesn't have the moreish sweet/rich combination of traditional chocolate that makes it so addictive. For people who don't like existing chocolate types, however, ruby chocolate may well be just up your alley.
Where Can You Get Ruby Chocolate In Australia?
If you do decide you want to try it, there's good news: Australia was one of the first countries to launch ruby chocolate this year. There are a couple of brands selling ruby chocolate in Australia at the moment:
Nestle was one of the first off the block to launch a ruby chocolate with ruby KitKats. The bad news is, you can only get them in the specialty Melbourne store. While the online store offers online ordering, it's click and collect only, no shipping.
For Sydneysiders, you can also taste the new variety at the upcoming Smooth Festival Of Chocolate - which, you should note, is a ticketed event for the first time this year, relocating to Sydney Showground.
You can also buy ruby chocolate online from the Savour chocolate and patisserie school, partners of ruby producers Callebaut chocolate. Savour will be selling both ruby chocolate in bulk for those looking to cook with it, and a small gift pack of sweet treats made with the new chocolate.
The most easily accessible way to try ruby chocolate in Australia, however, is probably with San Churro's Ruby Chocolate Menu which launches on September 10 in all stores. Also, if you're super keen on the new product, you can even book into one of their exclusive Real Ruby Chocolate Experience events.
Have you tried ruby chocolate? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below!