New Ruby chocolate forms ideal wine flavor pairings, claims pioneering researcher

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02 Oct 2017 --- Since Barry Callebaut’s launch of Ruby chocolate last month, the so-called “fourth generation of chocolate,” it has caused a stir in the chocolate industry. This fourth type of chocolate offers a totally new taste experience, which is not bitter, milky or sweet, but a tension between fruitiness and smoothness. 

Ruby chocolate has an intense taste and characteristic reddish color, which is unique because both the flavor and the color are naturally present in the cocoa bean. For Barry Callebaut, this is the first innovation where the company has leveraged all capabilities for sourcing to cocoa expertise. FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with several Barry Callebaut executives at the time of the launch, including CEO, Antoine de Saint-Affrique. You can listen to a podcast from the launch here.  

Francois Chartier (pictured) is regarded internationally as one of the pioneering researchers in terms of recipe creation and wine and food harmonies. He has extensive knowledge and has driven many scientific research studies on aromatic compounds, examining dominant molecules present in food and wine.

Before the launch, Chartier was given the opportunity to taste and examine the flavor profile of Ruby chocolate. FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Chartier who discussed aromatic food pairing.

“With my scientific approach on aromatic compounds, I look at the dominant molecules, aromatic compounds of food and this time the focus was on Ruby chocolate, which contains dominant aromas of flavor.”

“I discovered that Ruby chocolate is dominated by two families of molecules, when you taste this chocolate it tastes a lot of raspberry aromas and those aromas are coming from different molecules. The first is Eugenol, which contains aromas of clove and strawberry.” Click to Enlarge

“This molecule is dominated mostly in clove, but also in mango, strawberry and pineapple When you put those together you create a powerful aromatic synergy, which in this case is the Ruby chocolate,” he explains. “When you serve wine or beers that are dominated by the same molecule (Eugenol), it will create a perfect taste synergy.”

There are several other aromas present in Ruby chocolate, according to Chartier. “There are further sweeter aromas such as cotton candy, pineapple, cinnamon, caramel and burnt sugar. What is significant about that is that strawberry and pineapple are aromatic twins, because they share exactly the same dominant molecules. So when you pair Ruby chocolate with the strawberry and pineapple aromas, it works very well together because they share those same molecules.”

There is a second family of molecules that are dominant in Ruby chocolate called Ionone, which is part of a group of compounds known as rose ketones. The molecule contains a lot of raspberry, blackberry and violet aromas.

According to Chartier, this family of molecules is also found in rosé champagne which is why Ruby chocolate and rosé champagne make the perfect food and wine pairing. “Everyone likes the taste of rosé champagne and that together with Ruby chocolate is a very special taste,” he notes.

“Ruby chocolate is different to any other chocolate; it has very different aromatic profiles, compared to that of dark or milk chocolate. Generally speaking, when we take out the origin of the chocolate, dark chocolate has a denser aroma, and Ruby chocolate has all the fruity aromas, it’s the raspberry and pineapple tones, in particular, that pair this so well with champagne.”

Chartier believes that champagne is a good match but the same aromas are also present in many sparkling wines that may be cheaper and more accessible to your everyday consumer. “Sparkling rosé has the same kind of aroma and molecules as Click to Enlarge champagne and you can make a good match to Ruby chocolate with anything bubbly,” he continues. “You will still achieve ‘a match in a controlled zone,’ that won’t be a perfect match, but it will be a very close match to champagne. It’s not just about the quality of the champagne, it doesn’t have to expensive, but the profile of aromas present in the champagne.”

“You could take a sparkling rose, or still wine if it’s cheaper, you wouldn’t get the full match but you would be in the harmony comfort zone, so it won’t be bad, it won’t be the best but it will be very good,” claims Chartier. “Also, because of the strawberry, pineapple aromas of the Ruby chocolate, you could also serve sweet wine with it.”

“All those wines have mostly the same molecules as strawberry and pineapple, so if you don’t want a sparkling champagne or rosé, you can serve it with a sweet wine and you will achieve a really good match. This is one of the interesting things with aromatic profiles, in the end, there are many options and the pleasure comes from matching these aromatic profiles.”

Alternatively, you could step away from wines altogether. Something very fruity, such as strawberry gin, is also an option, says Chartier. “It’s not a matter of texture, low or high alcohol, you can achieve a match through aromas with a fruity flavor with the similar flavors and you will get a good match for Ruby chocolate. Even with cocktails, which are very trendy, many cocktails use strawberries, it could be very interesting to pair Ruby chocolate with a cherry, strawberry or violet liquor.”

“You could even work with Ruby in cocktails using the cream of Ruby chocolate; this could be a very interesting pairing of flavors. I’m sure it’s possible to create a cocktail with Ruby chocolate cream and other fruity flavors – that are the perfect aromatic flavors profiles,” he concludes.

The October/November issue of The World of Food Ingredients will feature a detailed article related to the technology behind Ruby chocolate.

By Elizabeth Green

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