You might have seen the hype around a new chocolate variety called Ruby, or RB1. Honestly, the name sounds like something straight out of the lab, and that’s because it kind of is.
Let me explain.
Callebaut have stated that they created a 4th kind of chocolate, “made from the Ruby Cocoa bean”. But what they really should have said is: We have invented a new way to process ANY type of cocoa bean which makes it turn pink, all you do is treat the unfermented beans with, wait for it…... acid.
This is pretty disappointing from a chocolate maker point of view. Callebaut are marketing it like they have discovered a whole new type of cacao bean, but in their patent, it states the cocoa used to make RB1 are simply from unfermented cocao beans of any variety. The process involves treating the beans with an acid (either phosphoric acid or citric acid with ethanol) for around 24 hours, where the reaction of the acid and polyphenols form the red colour.
“Acidified red cocoa nibs are cocoa nibs which were not initially red but which have been subjected to an acid for a sufficient amount of time to become red”
Consumers have identified that Ruby chocolate has a fruity, but sour and acidic after taste. Well that makes perfect sense, considering it’s been treated with acid. Ruby isn’t even allowed to be labelled as chocolate in the US as there is too much residual acid in it, and the levels of the acids used in post-harvest processing to maintain Ruby colour and taste are higher than allowed. I’m personally hoping they are in fact using citric acid and not phosphoric acid, since phosphoric acid is on the hazardous substance list because it is corrosive, and is normally used as a rust inhibitor or for cleaning products. Eek!
As a craft chocolate maker, I am passionate about the cacao’s individual and unique flavours from its genetics and local environment. Sadly, this isn’t the case for Callebaut and its RB1 Chocolate. The Patent states it has to mix the treated cocoa with 50% sugar and “Natural vanilla was then added to the chocolate in order to mask the bitter taste”.
Even though the Patent is available online, Callebaut are very secretive to the public about the whole process. Well, this just doesn’t sit right with me. I think I’ll stick to my traditional, unprocessed and organic beans thanks.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the RB1. Please leave me a comment below, especially if you have tried it.
Link to patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2009093030A1/en?oq=acidifying+unfermented+cacao+WO2009093030+A1