Available for aeons only in the varieties dark, milk and white, chocolate now has a new cousin: ruby chocolate. Perhaps the logical conclusion of the millennial pink craze that swept the globe last year, this pale pink number was invented by Swiss chocolate company Barry Callebaut. Believe it or not, the colouring is completely natural: the company’s vice-presidents claims to have invented a new way of processing cacao beans to ‘isolate the flavour precursors that preserves a red colour and natural berry flavour’. The specifics are still under wraps but the chocolate’s fruity, sweet and slightly sour taste is already proving a hit in South Korea and Japan, where it has been launched as a KitKat flavour. Ruby chocolate could signal a sea change in the chocolate industry – it’s potentially the first true innovation in cacao since white chocolate’s debut in the 1930s. The future’s bright, the future’s… pink?
In other news, hot chocolate’s gone high-end. Gone are the days of serving up dusty powder from a tub: we now see cafés looking to diversify their hot chocolate offering to satisfy discerning customers. Bean-to-bar producer Pump Street supplies many cafés and restaurants looking to be on top of their hot-choc game: it meticulously sources cacao beans from family farms and co-operatives all over the world. The results are pure luxury: Lyle’s in Shoreditch, East London, crafts a ganache from Pump Street’s Ecuadorian dark chocolate, double cream, sugar and salt. Combined with freshly steamed milk, the resulting drink is a comforting chocolate heaven – if only they delivered, so one could drink it in bed!
Mint-flavoured chocolate, such as the ubiquitous After Eight, has been around for what seems forever, but the real chocolate trend-setters are exploring other areas of the herb garden. British chocolatier Paul A Young is one of the few ahead of the curve. A veritable alchemist of the cacao world, Young dreams up concoctions such as dark chocolate with goat’s cheese, lemon and thyme, and hand-filled chocolate bites oozing bergamot, orange and lavender. Elsewhere, chef Adam Handling at Covent Garden’s The Frog takes his time with thyme, precisely picking leaves to garnish a chocolate, lemon and thyme dessert. When it comes to innovations in chocolate, herb is the word.
Photo: Courtesy of Barry Callebaut
Content: courtesy of Flavour Feed