If you’ve been paying attention to the world of chocolate in the last years, you may have heard about a new type of chocolate that’s been all the rage: ruby chocolate. But what is ruby chocolate? What makes it different from other types of chocolate?

In this blog post, we’ll answer all those questions and more! We’ll talk about the history and background of ruby chocolate, how it’s made, what it tastes like, and how it compares to other types of chocolate. So if you’re curious about this new type of chocolate, read on!

What is ruby chocolate?

Ruby chocolate is a type of chocolate that was first unveiled in 2017 by the Belgian chocolate manufacturer, Callebaut. It gets it’s name from it’s reddish-pink color.

The last time a new type of chocolate was released to the world was over 80 years ago when the Nestlé company introduced white chocolate to the market.

what is ruby chocolate, definition

The history of ruby chocolate 

In 2004, Callebaut announced that it had apparently discovered a new type of bean: the “ruby” cocoa bean. However, the company didn’t bring its product to market until well over 10 years later in 2017.

At the launch in Shanghai, Peter Boone, Barry Callebaut’s Chief Innovation & Quality Officer explained that ruby chocolate, “satisfies a new consumer need found among Millennials – Hedonistic Indulgence.”

So how did ruby chocolate come to be? According to the Callebaut story, “One of [their] cocoa experts discovered that unique components, naturally present in cocoa beans, yield chocolate with an exceptional red-pink colour and fruity taste.”

Callebaut claims that ruby chocolate is natural and that the pink colour is not the result of added colouring or berry flavouring. Instead, they say that the color is naturally found in certain cocoa beans from Brazil, Ecuador and the Ivory Coast.

How is ruby chocolate made?

Finding out how ruby chocolate is actually made is pretty difficult as Callebaut is very secretive about the recipe to protect it from competitors. However, there are other ways to find out how ruby chocolate is made.

First, let’s examine the ingredients. The ingredients of Callebaut’s ruby chocolate are: sugar, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier; soya lecithin, citric acid, and vanilla flavouring.

At first glance, ruby chocolate doesn’t seem much different to white chocolate. White chocolate is also made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. So what’s the difference between? The secret ingredient that doesn’t exist in white chocolate is citric acid.

Following the launch in 2017, journalists and other chocolate industry experts speculated that ruby chocolate was in fact made with regular but unfermented cocoa beans (which naturally have red-pinkish colour). Many chocolate experts agree that for the final chocolate product to be pink, the cocoa itself must be very pink to maintain its colour. It’s therefore believed they use fruitier, unfermented cocoa beans treated with acids, to maintain its bright colour. This would make sense as citric acid is listed on the ingredients.

Traditionally in cocoa bean processing, after the fermentation stage (which removes the outer pulp from the cocoa beans) the beans are put out to dry. At this stage, they are a deep red, wet, and intensely sour from the bacterial fermentation. This sourness fades as the beans dry.

It seems, therefore, that to create ruby chocolate Callebaut prematurely stops the fermentation and drying stage in order to treat the unfermented cocoa beans with an acid for 24 hours or more in order to form a vibrant red colour. Mix these beans with white cocoa butter and alas: ruby chocolate is created! 

This would also explain why in 2009, Callebaut registered a patent with the European Patent Office for “the invention [relating] to acidified cocoa nibs.” 

Within the patent, they explain that “there is a desire amongst some consumers for cocoa products that have a different colour. The use of coloured cocoa products can restrict the use of artificial food colourings or allow the use of less colouring material, for example.”

Therefore, unlike Callebaut’s claim of the ‘ruby cocoa bean,’ this pink colour might be derived from any cacao variety in the whole world. The key is in the way the cocoa beans are fermented, along with the addition of citric acid.

the ingredients of ruby chocolate

What does ruby chocolate taste like?

Ruby chocolate tastes sweet and tart. It has many similarities to white chocolate in terms of the texture and creaminess. However, unlike white chocolate it has a slightly sour and fruit taste.

A Barry Callebaut spokesperson describes Ruby chocolate as “not bitter, milky or sweet, but the tension between berry fruitiness and luscious smoothness.”

Nestlé was the first brand to launch a ruby chocolate product with Ruby KitKats. In a taste test done by The Guardian with Ruby KitKats comments included:

“It smells like a Lush store.”

“…the taste was really quite delicious – creamier than milk chocolate, less sickly than white chocolate, with just a hint of a zingy fruit-yoghurt tang.”

“…it is semi-sweet, slightly perfumed, a bit like those Special K red berries.”

How is ruby chocolate different to white chocolate?

On a scale from most to least amount of cacao content, ruby chocolate has more cocoa mass than white chocolate. According to Callebaut, ruby chocolate contains 47.3% cocoa solids. Most good quality white chocolate has a cacao content of between 30% to 40%.

Another difference between ruby chocolate and white chocolate is that ruby chocolate contains both cocoa butter and cocoa mass. White chocolate only contains the cocoa butter component of the cocoa bean. 

Where to buy ruby chocolate

Callebaut Ruby Couverture Chocolate Callets

  • Cocoa percentage: 33%
  • Medium fluidity
  • Milk solid content: 26%
  • Flavour: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Price: $$
  • See on Amazon

Chocolove Ruby Chocolate Bar

The future of ruby chocolate

Even though ruby chocolate was released in 2017, it seems it hasn’t quite created the shock waves Callebaut was expecting. Nonetheless, a few chocolate industry experts claim ruby chocolate will be on par if not bigger than white chocolate in the next 20 years.

Have you tried ruby chocolate? Let us know what you think about ruby chocolate in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Ruby Chocolate

What is ruby chocolate made out of?

Ruby chocolate is made of sugar, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier; soya lecithin, citric acid, and vanilla flavouring. It’s made from the same cocoa beans as dark, milk, or white chocolate is made of.

What exactly is ruby chocolate and is it even really chocolate?

Ruby chocolate is hailed the 4th type of chocolate by it’s creator, Callebaut. It is real chocolate, as it’s made from cocoa beans. It shares many similarities in the ingredients to white chocolate, with the exception of citric acid.

Why is ruby chocolate expensive?

Ruby chocolate is currently only produced by Callebaut, which means there’s only limited supply on the market. At the moment it’s still mostly used by chocolatiers and pastry chefs.

Is ruby chocolate naturally pink?

Yes, ruby chocolate is naturally pink. No added food colors are added. Chocolate experts believe that for ruby chocolate to be pink, the cocoa itself must be very pink to maintain its color. It’s therefore believed they use fruitier, unfermented cocoa beans treated with acids, to create the unique pink color.

Author

Susan Stokes is a freelance writer and self-confessed chocolate addict who founded Cocoa Box Australia to help chocolate lovers discover the world's finest craft chocolate. She enjoys reading, hiking and holidays to exotic locations.

13 Comments

    • Cacao Magazine Reply

      Thanks for sharing! Great article, from a great chocolate maker.

      • Cacao Magazine Reply

        Ha! What do you think it was that you weren’t a fan of out of curiosity?

        • Jan germain Reply

          Tried it with Kit Kat ,tasted different.Would definitely try it again due to fruity berry taste like chocolate.Something different and something new in the world of cocoa.More to discover than we expected.

  1. I am a Chocolatier and Artisan Shop owner in Ontario, Canada. I had the opportunity to study bean to bar chocolate making in Ecuador a couple of years ago. After Ruby came out, I went back thru my photos and saw a pic I had taken of an under-fermented cacao bean. It had the dense dark purple colour and the same hues as the finished ruby chocolate. Personally, I do consider it to be the “4th” type of chocolate. If we look at how white, milk and dark chocolate are made, either adding dairy in the case of milk, or removing the cocoa solids in the case of white, Ruby is made by changing some processes for the cacao beans in the pre-conching stage. For me that process change makes it distinct enough to call it the 4th type. This issue could be one that is similar to white chocolate itself…is it really chocolate? 50% of chocolatiers say yes and the rest no. For the record, I say it is. (p.s. very much enjoying the Cacao Magazine articles – thank you for them!)

    • Cacao Magazine Reply

      Really interesting comment, thank you very much for sharing and joining the conversation! We’re so pleased to hear you’re enjoying the magazines as well!

  2. I am really pleased to say it’s an interesting post to read.
    I learn new information from your articl, youu are doing a great job.

    King regards,
    Boswell Henneberg

  3. Wonderful article, thank you. A question: this article (and others) continually equate ruby chocolate to a type of white chocolate. If it contains both cocoa butter and mass, wouldn’t it then be a variation of a milk chocolate?

    • Cacao Magazine Reply

      So glad you liked it, Rose! In the ‘How is it different to White Chocolate’ section Susan actually explains some of the key differences and why it isn’t really white chocolate! 🙂

  4. What an interesting article about this new type of chocolate! I’d never heard about it before so haven’t tried it. My research on chocolate has revealed that it’s the fermenting process that is responsible for the chocolate flavour and that longer fermentation results in better flavour (without overdoing it of course). So I wonder what this ruby chocolate tastes like. I do like fruity flavours but I doubt this will taste as good as a strawberry dipped in regular chocolate! I agree with the above comment that it’s a different kind of actual chocolate. It contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter. It’s just the fermentation that’s different.

    As for white chocolate . . . I don’t like it unless it’s a garnish for a regular chocolate recipe. On its own it tastes like nothing. I am still on the fence as to whether it’s really chocolate. The first time I tasted it, I thought, “this is NOT chocolate!” Later I thought maybe it was . . . because it still contains cocoa butter which comes from the cocoa bean. But recently I looked up the difference between cocoa and and chocolate. Pure cocoa has no cocoa butter – just cocoa solids. Chocolate is a combination of both cocoa solids AND cocoa butter. This would mean that hot cocoa and hot chocolate aren’t quite the same – I used to think they were! So if cocoa isn’t even technically chocolate, why should something with only cocoa butter be considered chocolate? Shouldn’t it be called a “Cocoa Butter Bar” instead of White Chocolate?

    • Cacao Magazine Reply

      Great questions, Robin! We actually have an article on white chocolate I think you’ll find very interesting: https://readcacao.com/eating-chocolate/what-is-white-chocolate/ since much of the flavour and texture of chocolate comes from the cocoa butter, we would count a good quality bar of white chocolate with a high cocoa butter percentage as ‘real’ chocolate, but this is subjective.

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