Rich ruby, gleaming gold… diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but chocolate is our BFF. With ruby chocolate hitting Australia a while ago, gold chocolate recently arriving, and green matcha choc popping up everywhere from cakes to shakes, it was time for a serious investigation.
Ruby chocolate was revealed by chocolate producers Callebaut as the fourth chocolate after dark, milk and white – “the most uncommon chocolate discovery in 80 years”. It looks like strawberry-flavoured white chocolate, and there is a zingy berry aftertaste. It’s made from cocoa beans that naturally have a pink hue, along with a proprietary process to preserve the colour in the final chocolate.
But ultimately it’s chocolate, not strawberry, and this eye-brain-mouth surprise has caused it to be a divisive flavour, according to Chef Paul at Salt Pepper Nutmeg restaurant in Roseville, where we’re trying “Life, The Universe and Rose Chocolate Mousse”: a ruby chocolate mousse adorned with raspberry coulis and beetroot meringue.
In the cosy setting, surrounded by shelves of books (that diners are welcome to read) with vases of flowers and vegetables adorning the tables, we dig in. It’s a light, delicious, creamy treat, and quite a trip to be tasting chocolate when your brain thinks it should be fruity.
Gold chocolate is the latest invention from Callebaut. Made mainly from West African cocoa beans, it’s crafted from ingredients such as caramelised sugar and caramelised milk and is described as having “an intense yet balanced caramel chocolate taste, with rich notes of toffee, butter, cream and an exciting dash of salt”.
It’s currently the star at San Churro, where we sample the Treasure Trove Churros Snack Pack, the Golden Gatsby hot chocolate topped with whipped cinnamon cream and golden pearls, and the Ruby Ruby Ruby churro bowl: a churro-nest filled with ruby chocolate ice cream, strawberries and a ruby macaron, drizzled with molten ruby chocolate.
Served in the colourful Chatswood Westfield branch with its upbeat Latin music, it’s all spectacularly pretty with terrific taste to match. The Ruby Ruby Ruby is a lighter and fruitier experience, while the Treasure Trove is ideal to share – except you’ll fight over who gets the “Credit Suisse” gold bar. The gold hot chocolate is a caramelly, creamy, chocolatey comfort.
San Churro manager Dan reveals that gold has been the bigger hit – except with truffles, where ruby sold out within a week. “Ruby has been quite popular but the berry aftertaste is a new flavour, whereas the gold caramel is more of a known flavour profile. Generally people like gold more, because caramel is more familiar.”
Our final stop is Max Brenner, where a gleaming “Ruby Cacao Bean” is on the menu at the branch at the top of Centrepoint Westfield Sydney. This is a ruby chocolate and raspberry mousse with lychee cubes on a nutty cake base. It’s delicious, though hard to distinguish the ruby chocolatiness from the fruitiness of the raspberry.
We also order a ruby chocolate “suckao”: this is a small candle burner with hot milk and chocolate buttons, which you melt into it. It’s fun, and it’s also the purest, most intense hit of what ruby chocolate really tastes like. If you want to really experience the flavour, try this.
According to Greg Burge from F. Mayer (Imports) Pty Ltd, the Australian importers of Callebaut, both gold and ruby have proven to be very popular in the Australian market. “Chefs and chocolatiers have been keen to experiment with Ruby’s unique flavours. The Callebaut Gold, whilst not having the market presence of Ruby, has been proven to be more popular due to the rich caramelised flavour and ability of it to be paired with so many different ingredients.”
So can we expect to see more colours in future? Greg doesn’t think so, as what makes ruby and gold unique is that their colours are natural. “Consumers are more aware than ever of where their food comes from and don’t want to see a long list of synthetic colours on the label of the products they purchase therefore I don’t think we will see any further colours developed. I believe sustainability and traceability will be key trends in the next few years. Callebaut are committed to sustainability programs such as Cocoa Horizons.”
So does gold beat ruby? If you’re an ice-cream chick, caramelly gold is probably the choc to go for. But gelato girls may prefer zingy ruby.
Salt Pepper Nutmeg – https://saltpeppernutmeg.business.site – 110 Pacific Hwy, Roseville NSW 2069 – (02) 9880 9994
San Churro – http://www.sanchurro.com (various locations)
Max Brenner – http://maxbrenner.com.au (various locations)