The rise of Barry Callebaut’s ruby chocolate shows no signs of abating since it was introduced in 2017 and has been used by confectionery companies and artisan chefs in everything from KitKats and ice creams to chocolate truffles. Now it has been turned into a chocolate drink powder, for Van Houten, the group’s own heritage brand.
“What we’re trying to do is to take a product that has a very precarious and very unique colour, and taste, and make that into a product that still has that very unique colour and taste in a hot beverage," van der Knaap said.
“So when you add other components to the extent that it can be milk or water and you heat it up to 70, 80 degrees the colour and tastes are, under pressure of changing and that's exactly the time we took to take a product that works in a solid state and make it work in a hot, liquid state.
“And at the end, we came up with a product that is 94% ruby chocolate – and also we added some fruit concentrates too to preserve the colour at temperature.”
Innovation is in the Van Houten brand, which was founded by the Dutch family nearly 200 years ago after the invention of the cacao press to create a chocolate drink powder. It has been owned by the Barry Callebaut Group since 1998.
As well as a chocolate drink, the ruby powder can be used in other applications, said van der Knaap. For example, the brand has been experimenting blitzing it in a blender with ice cubes with excellent results.
The powder can also be used for baking ruby chocolate cakes, he said.
“We did test it and it works in a sense that the flavour is totally there when you have that ruby muffin or ruby chocolate cake - but because you've baked it at a high temperature for long period, the colour is going to inevitably change a little bit, so it lacks a little bit of the intensity, and that also depends on the amount of ruby powder used in the total recipe of your muffin or cake. So, let's say, in terms of taste or quality, you can absolutely use ruby in other applications such as baking.”
- To hear more on the use of ruby, the so-called fourth type of chocolate’, as a chocolate powder, listen to the full interview with Freek van der Knaap in our podcast.