New ruby chocolate is now available in South Africa

A fourth type of chocolate, the first in eighty years, has been developed by the Belgian couverture chocolate manufacturer, Callebaut, from the ruby cocoa bean.

For the last four decades there have been three types of chocolate – dark, milk and white. Now there is ruby chocolate and no, it is not white chocolate flavoured with strawberry. It is a completely new variety of chocolate.

Says Callebaut about its new RB1 chocolate

“After dark, milk and white, ruby is the most uncommon chocolate discovery in eighty years. This gift of mother nature surprises and bedazzles with a completely new chocolate taste and colour experience, born from the ruby cocoa bean –  without adding any colourants or fruit flavourings.”

The chocolate’s colour occurs naturally in the “ruby” cocoa bean. But what a ruby cocoa bean is hasn’t been revealed. Callebaut says ruby chocolate was “discovered” more than 10 years ago and “owes its colour and specific taste solely to the expert selection and meticulous processing of the ruby beans”.

The taste is described as intense fruitiness with fresh and sour notes. Many early tasters are reporting that the overwhelming flavour is one of berry, not chocolate. Clay Gordon from The Chocolate Life says he found “little to none of the characteristic cocoa flavour associated with chocolate”.

Ruby KitKat

Callebaut sells its products to businesses, not consumers, which means that it had little control over when ruby chocolate would hit retail shelves. Nestlé was one of the first companies to introduce the chocolate to consumers in January 2018, when it launched a ruby chocolate version of KitKat in Japan and South Korea, and later in Europe, the Americas and further afield.

Fortnum and Mason in the UK

But Fortnum and Mason, purveyors of fine foods, hampers, teas and wine, beat Nestlé to it, launching its own ruby chocolate bar in April 2018, just before KitKat.

In South Africa

Ruby chocolate made its debut in South Africa in early September 2018 when it launched at the Chocolate Academy in Johannesburg, which was opened by Barry Callebaut in May.

Locally, ruby chocolate can currently be found in various forms at artisanal chocolatiers My Sugar in Cape Town and Chocoloza in Johannesburg.


My Sugar Cape Town


Chocoloza Johannesburg


Amanda Coetzee

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