Chocolate has been delighting palates for centuries, but a Swiss company wants to bring the delicious treat into the Instagram era. As Jacey Fortin reports for the New York Times, chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has introduced a new type of milky goodness—and it’s pink.
Unveiled in Shanghai on Tuesday, Callebaut’s rosy hue will add a pop of color to the chocolate family, which currently consists only of dark, milk, and white. It is the first time a new chocolate has been created since Nestlé introduced the world to white chocolate some 80 years ago, according to a statement on Callebaut's website.
The company is calling its concoction “ruby chocolate,” but one might be forgiven for describing it as “millennial pink.” In the statement, Callebaut’s chief innovation and quality officer Peter Boone says that ruby chocolate will cater to a unique consumer need of Generation Y: “Hedonistic Indulgence” (whatever that means).
While it may seem as though Callebaut is jumping on the pastel-colored, unicorn-crazed bandwagon, the company has been developing its ruby chocolate for the past 13 years, according to Hannah Ellis-Petersen of the Guardian. The pink color was discovered during experiments with cocoa beans in Callebaut’s labs, and its researchers partnered with a private institution in Germany to further study the chemical compounds of cocoa beans.
“Ruby” beans can be found in Ecuador, Brazil and the Ivory Coast, and they come from the same species of cacao that produces the chocolate we know and love. Boone told the Times’ Fortin that ruby beans “have a particular mix of compounds,” but would not provide any additional details. He also stayed mum about the processing methods that let the beans’ pink shade shine through.
Here is what we do know: No berry flavoring or red coloring is added to the mix. And according to the Callebaut statement, ruby chocolate “offers a totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet, but a tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness.”
While that certainly sounds lovely, some foodies are greeting Callebaut’s announcement with skepticism. Speaking to Sarah Young of the Independent, chocolate expert Dom Ramsey notes that the French company Valrhona claimed to have created a new chocolate several years ago, when it launched a caramelized white chocolate.
“[T]hat turned out to be little more than marketing,” Ramsey says. “Barry Callebaut aren’t giving anything away about the processes involved in making [ruby chocolate] … It remains to be seen if it really is something exciting, or if it’s just a marketing gimmick.”
Callebaut cannot yet say when its new product will be available for purchase. Kim Ghilardi, the company’s media relations manager, tells Fortin that it may take six to 18 months for ruby chocolate to hit shelves, depending on where it is being sold.
What is a hedonistically indulgent millennial to do until then? Well, there’s always black ice cream.