My Love Affair With Ruby Chocolate
I recently became infatuated with a precious jewel: The confectionary kind.
While buying groceries from my favorite organic wholesaler online, I spotted Chocolove’s Ruby Cacao bars in a line of suggested products. True to their name, these bars had a dusty rose hue and were packaged in light pink wrappers. I was smitten instantly and ordered four of them, thinking my willpower would make it possible for me to stretch out their consumption over several weeks by storing unopened bars in my freezer. It didn’t.
As a parallel to this culinary development, right now I’m in a relationship with a man who makes me happy. This experience, which has lasted over a year now, has been an anchor during the pandemic. It feels great, especially after my dating misadventures in the nation’s capital. Part of why he and I are together is because I’ve become fairly content with my own life, with or without a romantic relationship. I like discovering what makes me happy and going after it.
Ruby chocolate is one such discovery.
There is some debate as to whether this rosy wonder, introduced in 2017 by Barry Callebaut, a Belgian-Swiss cocoa company, is in fact legitimately chocolate. But its staunchest supporters claim it is the fourth kind of chocolate, the newest addition after the creation of white chocolate in the 1930s. Made from reddish cacao beans, ruby chocolate’s color is entirely natural, and a delightful riff on what we expect chocolate to look like.
A piece of ruby chocolate, ideally paired with some fresh raspberries, is a welcome treat, a way to end the day with a kiss of sweet-tart loveliness.
Ruby chocolate is just the latest in a lineup of foods I love that are a bit daring, different, bold, and full of flavor. Here are a few others that make my heart beat faster.
Hibiscus is a seductive flavor infusion for a cocktail. I’ll never forget meeting an old flame of mine for the first time and ordering a heady mix of gin and St. Germaine with hibiscus in it. Somehow in the middle of our conversation, he found a moment to let his finger graze my ankle, in a way that wasn’t creepy or aggressive, but curious, playful. That was all it took for me to fall into our several-years-long love affair.
In its most soothing form, hibiscus can be used to make a jewel-toned tea, perhaps in a moment of reflection after a passionate relationship ends. I used to go to a local coffeeshop that doubles as a record store down the street and order dark red hibiscus tea to sip on while writing mediocre poetry. The tea was my favorite, and I was disappointed after the cafe stopped carrying it.
The handsome man and former flame of mine and I are still friends, and once in passing, I mentioned the hibiscus tea I had become addicted to at my coffeeshop. He instantly remembered the drink I ordered when I first met him, making me blush and taking me back to my early, more innocent days in D.C.
2. Blood oranges
Blood oranges, like ruby chocolate, carry a visual element of surprise, largely due to their dark red color that is a departure from the cheerful, good-morning orange or pink we associate with other citrus fruits. Blood oranges are more after hours, suitable for sunset or late evening.
A friend and I recently met at a neighborhood restaurant and sat shivering outside under a heating lamp, laughing and catching up on our lives like we used to before the pandemic. To warm up, I ordered a blood orange margarita with jalapeño-infused simple syrup. My heart raced, my cheeks flushed, and I was able to brave the chill while enjoying a Friday night, unencumbered by the relentlessness of winter.
3. Grape tomatoes
Grape tomatoes are what you eat when you are trying to fortify yourself with good intentions. A tiny bit of health, nestled between fresh lettuce leaves, waiting to surprise you with goodness. Antioxidant-rich vegetable candy, though the name indicates they are fruit. Manageable sweetness.
If ingredients were the types of dates we have, grape tomatoes might be the nice guy you go out with temporarily, knowing you aren’t over your bad-boy ex, but trying to do the right thing. They are reliably delicious and somewhat virtuous, easy to consume in a variety of recipes.
With seeds boasting a poetic name like “arils,” and a literary affiliation with a Greek myth detailing the doomed marriage between Persephone and Hades, how could pomegranates not lend themselves to matters of the heart?
Just drinking pomegranate juice is renewing and strengthening, much like Persephone’s seasonal return to the beautiful spring after she abandoned the underground hell she was in. And there is something so satisfying about extracting their delicious seeds, watching them pile up like rubies in a glass bowl, a sought-after sweet treasure just for the cook and whomever might be lucky enough to dine with them. They are potent with magic.
If you liked this post, you might enjoy:
The Joy of Cooking — After You’re No Longer Married to the Wrong Person
The future is on the tip of my tongue, and I am creating what I hope will be a decidedly delicious life