Ruby chocolate is a variety of chocolate introduced in 2017 by Barry Callebaut, a Belgian-Swiss cocoa company. The variety has been in development since 2004. It was unveiled at a private event in Shanghai on 5 September 2017.
The chocolate is made from the “ruby cocoa bean”. “Ruby beans” are existing botanical cocoa bean varieties that have been identified as having the right attributes to be processed into ruby chocolate.
The chocolate’s taste is described as “sweet yet sour”, with “little to none” of the cocoa flavour traditionally associated with other varieties of chocolate.
With the production methods being kept a trade secret and the use of genetic modification denied by Barry Callebaut, publications note industry speculation that ruby chocolate is made with unfermented cocoa beans, which can have a natural red-pinkish colour. The company also registered a patent in 2009 for “cocoa-derived material” from unfermented cocoa beans (or beans fermented for no more than three days) that become red or purple after treating them with an acid and then defatting with petroleum ether.
The variety was not available for sale to consumers until 19 January 2018, when it was introduced in a new flavor of Kit-Kat bar, in Japan and South Korea, as well as online. One stick will cost 400 yen (USD$3.60). In April 2018, Kit Kat announced the release of the ruby chocolate in the UK but Fortnum & Mason beat them to it, launching the first ever ruby chocolate in Europe on the 13th April 2018. Kit Kat launched on the following Monday.