Gear up to make the best of the newest member of the chocolate tribe — ruby chocolate
The introduction of white chocolate in the culinary world made news in the 1930s. Now, after almost eighty years there is a new entrant in the world of chocolate. After dark, milk and white chocolate researchers at Barry Callebaut, Switzerland, one of the world’s largest cocoa producers and processors, have discovered ruby chocolate. The announcement was made in a news release shared by the company in September. The R&D department of the company had been developing the chocolate for the past 13 years but it was only in the last two years that they decided there was a market for this type of chocolate.
Unlike its cousins this variant has a bright ‘millennial pink’ colour with an inherent berry nuanced flavour to the chocolate. It is made from the ‘ruby bean,’ and it is unique because the fresh berry-fruitiness and colour precursors are naturally present.
With its vibrant and enticing appearance, this rose-hued confectionery is enough to satiate the hedonistic indulgence of the Instagram generation. And it’s not only pastry chefs who are excited about the news; chocoholics all over are waiting with bated breath for this pink bonbon to hit the shelves.
Hindustan Times speaks to a few city chefs and chocolatiers to get an insight on their views and how they plan to use it in their preparations.
Husna Jumani, pastry chef, The Clearing House, Fort is “very excited for ruby chocolate to hit the market.” “I’m assuming it’s going to be really hard to procure for the first couple of months. It is said to have a natural berry taste with slight acidity, so it would go really well with cream based desserts. I would start with that and then try different flavour pairings. I would try and showcase the stunning colour as much as possible, adding spices like pink peppercorn and Timur pepper would really accentuate the flavour,” he says.
Jumani adds: “I’m thinking pink pepper Pavlova with ruby chocolate and mascarpone cream, fresh berries and dark chocolate fondant with a liquid ruby chocolate centre, vanilla bean ice cream and ruby chocolate soil. For people who want to prepare something at home, I would suggest to first use basic ingredients like vanilla, cream cheese, heavy cream, mascarpone so that the flavour and colour of the chocolate is not buried and then move on to more unusual ingredients.”
Himanshu Taneja, the chef and culinary director at St. Regis, Lower Parel says that the new chocolate “will unlock the sensorial experience and will be a delight to the guest as well as chefs to experiment with and provide guests with an unusual variety of desserts.” He adds: “The colour and flavour are ideal for festivals and celebrations especially Valentine’s day. Pink is the colour associated with love and a chocolate with this as a natural colour, combined with a fruity taste is a good raw material to showcase the emotion of love. From chocolate sculptures to wedding cakes, dainty hearts and so much more can be created.”
On the other hand, Tanvi Chowdri, founder of Papacream (Churchgate) feels that we’ve “always seen chocolate in shades of brown and white.” She says: “So much so, that as a dessert lover I associate the colour brown with chocolate. I think today, people care a lot about the visual appeal of the products being served to them and the beautiful pink colour of the ruby chocolate will give us a lot to play with.”
Tanvi adds: “Whenever we make sundaes we look for different toppings and sauces that will break or contrast the brown of the chocolate ice cream. A pink coloured chocolate ice cream would be amazing. We could mould it into different red fruits (cherries, strawberries, apples) and use it as toppings on our ice creams. A red hot fudge would also look great on waffles.”
Anil Jayaprakash, chef at I Think Fitness Café, Bandra (W) says it’s “a wonderful discovery to find another variation of chocolate which is unique and has a fruity flavour.” “Generally the cocoa bean has a very nutty flavour and rich in taste. Creating and innovating desserts in the world of patisserie and confectionery would be very interesting. Gone are the days were we used to merge in flavours into the chocolates by adding it in the form of a moisture or powder,” says Anil, adding that the best way to use ruby chocolate is infusing it with vanilla in desserts. “The reason being the fragrance of vanilla and the flavour of ruby chocolate along with the mesmerising colour of ruby will add to the dessert,” he says.
For Nishesh Sheth, chef at Le Meridien, it’s “an exciting time to be a chef and even more for a pastry chef.” “Chocolate has always fascinated both culinarians and consumers since its inception and a variant as exquisite as the ruby chocolate sounds thrilling. As a chef, we are always in search of new flavours and textures. A new ingredient always helps add a new dimension or perspective to an existing dish. Though at this point I’m yet to get a taste of the chocolate, with what I have heard and read of it the possibilities seem endless,” he says.
He further adds that this could be the “next level for handmade chocolates.” “In the Instagram era, the colour of this chocolate would make it an instant hit with food stylists, photographers and bloggers as well,” says Nishesh.
The chef is a big believer in “creating dishes where the hero ingredient is known for its intrinsic flavours and does justice to the ingredient itself.” He says: “Although at this point, I am not aware of how the chocolate would perform in terms of technicalities like melting, tempering and moulding, I would sure prefer to use in its original form. I, for one, look forward to getting my hands on it and trying a few creations before I pass any verdict on it.”
Sanjana Patel, executive chef and creative director at La Folie had first used ruby chocolate on her recent visit to the USA. “When I first tasted pink chocolate, it was less sweet and more premium than white chocolate and had a citrus aftertaste with a milky texture,” she says, adding that pink chocolate would pair best with berries, Greek yogurt, exotic spices and so on.
“Since pink chocolate is expensive, we don’t use it for extravagant dishes. Bonbons, waffle coating are some of the best ways we can experiment with pink chocolate in India. Chefs are always looking for new innovations to experiment and create some of the finest exotic desserts,” says Sanjana, adding that a “lot can be experimented with pink chocolate.”
“We can look at making a traditional French brassiere or a freshly churned woody pink ice cream. We can also use almond and marzipan or pair it with cherry blossom tea or rose petal tea. From the existing dishes, I would love to experiment with white chocolate cherry blossom cake where I would substitute white chocolate with pink chocolate for flavour enhancement. To make the dish more interesting, we can look at experimenting by creating Pink Latte or use it as a pink fondue,” she says.
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