Does ruby chocolate live up to the hype?

Ruby chocolate is here, Australia. But is the world's fourth chocolate variety all it's cracked up to be? Tiffany Dunk put her taste buds to the test.

On September 5, 2017, Swiss company Barry Callebaut turned the cocoa world on its head when they introduced the world's fourth natural chocolate variety - ruby. 

Derived from the ruby cacao bean, the resulting chocolate - the first new variety to be introduced in over 80 years - is millennial pink with what is described as a"sweet yet sour" berry taste. And it's fast muscling out its sweet sisters white, milk and dark to become one of the most sought-after ingredients for chocolate makers around the world.

Australia got our first taste when Nestle launched KitKat Sublime Ruby - available from their Melbourne Chocolatory for $5 per stick. But now it's available to taste in its pure form, as well as in some pretty decadent desserts, as San Churro becomes Australia's first retailer to offer a "Real Ruby" range - which includes truffles, Rocky Road, decorated ruby bars and more - at selected stores around the country.

San Churro will also offer a "Real Ruby Chocolate" immersive dining experience - tickets are now on sale for the event which will set you back $35 and starts on September 10, 2018. Lifestyle.com.au's managing editor Tiffany Dunk scored a seat at the pre-launch table to not only get a taste of what's on offer but to try ruby chocolate for the first time. And here's what she found.

A few Real Ruby treats on offer at San Churro

The facts

While it's considered to be on the lighter end of the chocolate spectrum, San Churro's ruby chocolate contains 47 per cent cocoa - that's significantly more than both their milk, which is 36 per cent cocoa and white, which has 30 per cent cacao butter. Their dark chocolate has 59 per cent cacao.

The bright pink colour is naturally occurring care of the ruby cacao bean as is the berry flavour. There have been no additives or flavours added. 

Award-winning chocolatier and pastry maker Tim Clark has been working with San Churro to nail their ruby range for months and is on hand to tell us what to expect.

"Ruby is creamy and with light berry notes," he says. "It pairs really well with Champagne and lighter flavoured additions that don't overpower the ruby. It brings out the best in praline and is great with passionfruit."

The verdict

Before trying ruby, I taste the white chocolate to get a sense of where the flavour spectrum starts. Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of white chocolate, I usually find it too sweet for my taste - I'm a dark chocolate kind of girl - so given that ruby is up next before we move on to both milk and dark I'm not sure I'm going to like it.

Holding the piece of ruby it's clear that the texture is less creamy than it's white predecessor. It also smells less sugary which is encouraging. 

 "There's always an urge to consume chocolate really fast," Tim warns. "But it's best to put the chocolate between the roof of your mouth and your tongue and then let it slowly melt to appreciate the flavour.

So after a palette cleansing swig of water, I do just that. While ruby is definitely sweet, it's less so than white - in fact, I'd say it's more in line with milk chocolate sugar levels. And the berry flavour punches in really quickly. It's hard to believe that there are no strawberries or raspberries used within the chocolate. That berry note also lends a hint of sourness which helps it feel less "sickly" for fellow non-white chocolate lovers. It tastes how it looks really - fun, fruity and sweet all in one.

I also had a chance to taste the signature dessert - a decadent mix of marshmallow, chocolate biscuit, churros, ruby chocolate, freeze-dried raspberries and ice cream. The berry flavours of the ruby are the perfect match to cut through the sugar-laden dessert although I was in no danger of making it to the bottom of the bowl. 

So does ruby live up to the hype? If you are a fan of berry flavours and like a lighter chocolate than the answer is a firm yes. As for me, I'll probably default back to my dark chocolate preference but should the Ruby Rocky Road make its way across my desk I most certainly wouldn't say no.

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