In my passion of writing about food and restaurants in the main, I am very lucky and often spoilt. Yesterday I attended a historic event for the food and restaurant industry, the launch of the new Ruby RB1 chocolate by Callebaut, an iconic new pink chocolate, the first new chocolate launch in 80 years since the introduction of dark, milk, and white chocolates. It was developed over a period of ten years by Callebaut with a University in Germany.
Two years ago I met Pastry Chef LeeAndra Govender at Chefs who Share in Johannesburg, when she impressed in being a co-winner of Young Chef 2016. Recently we bumped into each other on a walk in Camps Bay, and she invited me to try her new exceptional Afternoon Tea at the Table Bay Hotel, having moved to Cape Town three months ago.
Chef LeeAndra uses Callebaut chocolates in her pastry-making, and was allocated two tickets to attend the launch of the new Callebaut Ruby RB1 chocolate at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek, and she invited me to share the experience with her.
We were welcomed with sparkling wine by Leopard’s Leap, cappuccino, and water, and in the time we waited for the event to start I connected with a number of the chefs that I know, including Chefs Neil Jewell of Bread & Wine, Danver Windvogel and Denver Adonis of Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Glen Foxcroft Williams of Foxcroft, Andre Steyn (no longer at La Colombe, having moved to the Cape Grace), Lorraine Meaney of the Cape Grace, Oliver Cattermole of Bovine (right), Richard von Geusau, and Asher Isaacs of My Sugar. Richard told me that he has already launched a Von Geusau Ruby chocolate slab.
I am so grateful to have been able to join Chef LeeAndra at the launch of Caullebaut Ruby RB1 chocolate, there being no other writers present. For the Pastry world this is the most exciting development, the first in 80 years, in the launch of a 4th chocolate category Ruby, in addition to dark, milk, and white chocolate.
The new artisanal chocolate is unique, being of a sparkling ruby colour, with an intense fruitiness and fresh sour notes, coming from the ruby cocoa bean. It is a Belgian chocolate.
Minette Smith heads the Chocolate Academy South Africa, formerly working with Chef David Higgs at five hundred at The Saxon. She handled technical questions. She and her team prepared various applications of the new Ruby chocolate, including tablets of the chocolate, truffles, little chocolate coated balls, chocolate marshmallows, a ruby mousse, and more. Chef Minette emphasised that the pink colour is natural, from the Ruby cocoa bean, with no flavourants or colourants added. She also advised that it be used in its pure form, and warned that attempts to extract the acidity (with a 3,4 pH level) will result in the chocolate turning grey. Other applications for the new Ruby chocolate is in sauces, cremeaux, and glazes. An information leaflet informed that it is 18 – 35 year old Millennial consumers in particular who love this chocolate, ‘…looking for a hedonistic experience’.
A brochure we received explained that the Ruby cocoa bean comes from Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast. It also adds that ‘neither genus or origin determine the qualification for a cocoa bean to be a Ruby bean. It’s the natural occurrence of the typical precursors that qualify for a bean to have the Ruby bean profile and evoke the Ruby colour and taste’.
Callebaut has partnered with the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, to empower craftsmanship and entrepreneurship amongst cocoa farmers. In the Ivory Coast and Ghana there is a production-based incentive offered to cocoa farmers. Training programs and financial incentives encourage the cocoa bean farmers to improve the quality and yield of their crops.
In the Callebaut Ruby brochure Belgian Chocolatier and Pastry Chef Marijn Coertjens is quoted as saying about the new Ruby chocolate: ‘With Ruby RB1, you have to unlearn what you would traditionally do with dark, milk or white chocolate.This chocolate opens up to new ideas. It’s amazing how it pairs with ingredients such as Rosé champagne, beers or even savoury ingredients’. The chef was one of two chocolatiers, with Chef David Maenhout, to collaborate with Callebaut in the development of Ruby confectionery applications.
Chefs were invited to rise to the creative challenge which the new Callebaut Ruby RB1 presents to them. The new Ruby RB1 was launched in Johannesburg three weeks ago, the first launch for the product in Africa.
Disclosure: We received a goody bag with information brochures, and a box with a slab of Ruby chocolate.
Barry–Callebaut, Design Quarter, Fourways, Johannesburg. Tel (010) 309-8470. www.Barry-Callebaut.com Instagram: @callebautchocolate
Chocolate Academy South Africa, Design Quarter, Fourways, Johannesburg. Tel (010) 300-8470, www.chocolate-academy.com Instagram: @chocolateacademy_southafricaq
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein