Ruby Chocolate Is the Newest and Pinkest Type of Chocolate

Kat Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

As established by the immense popularity of rosé and the growing trend of unicorn foods everywhere, color sells — especially the shade that is dubbed “millennial pink.” So it was only a matter of time for the chocolate industry to gravitate towards a new type of chocolate — one that has a blush color and fruity flavor. The latest chocolate invention, which is the first chocolate to be added to the exclusive club of milk, white, and dark chocolate in over 80 years, is called ruby chocolate. Barry Callebaut, one of the world’s largest chocolate producers, claims to be responsible for introducing this pastel pink iteration of chocolate.

“In terms of functionality, ruby is very similar to white chocolate. However, it is a totally new taste experience. Ruby has an intense fruity flavor and slightly sour profile,” said TJ Mulvihill, the VP of marketing for America’s branch of Barry Callebaut. The chocolate is allegedly made from pure cocoa beans that is processed using a unique proprietary method; the berry flavor and unique color occur naturally. The price, however, seems comparable to other fancy chocolates, with bars from Chocolove — which makes a plain ruby chocolate bar, a passion fruit one, and a pink grapefruit flavor — clocking in at around $8 per bar. Don’t expect to find any dollar ruby chocolates just yet.

Creamistry, the hand-crafted liquid nitrogen ice cream chain, is among the first dessert shops to put the newly arrived ingredient to the test. “Ruby chocolate has a fruity, berry note to the taste with a slight citrus after-note, accompanied with the smooth, decadent feel of chocolate,” Jay Yim, the founder of Creamistry, shared. “Creamistry’s ruby chocolate ice cream brings out the natural vibrant color and decadent richness that ruby chocolate is known for.”

Although ruby chocolate wants to be included in the chocolate family, and has translated well in ice cream form, it isn’t suitable for all applications of chocolate, including baking. According to Mulvihill, ruby chocolate’s most suitable use is to indulge in its purest bar form and is not yet “bake stable or suitable for extrusion.” That doesn’t mean that ruby chocolate can’t find a home among baked goods; Mulvihill has favored ruby chocolate for confectionery, claiming that ruby can be used for enrobing and decorating pastries and cakes. Kit-Kat has taken notice, and has launched their own ruby chocolate covered wafers in the UK that will allegedly “give your taste buds a tantalisingly [sic] intense sensorial experience.”

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the introduction of ruby chocolate, however. Chocolate blogger Sharon Terenzi has described it as a “questionable product born to catch the eye, create buzz, and nothing more.” She writes that “[ruby chocolate] doesn’t contribute to the elevation of chocolate as a fine food, nor stimulates consumers to look over its aesthetics.” The reason for that has to do with lack of transparency from Barry Callebaut; though the company shares that the cocoa beans come from Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast, there is no additional information about sourcing or processing the chocolate, leading some chocolate experts to question whether or not this is an elaborate gimmick at best or a controversial and potentially damaging dessert at worst.

And it’s not just the lack of transparency that has some rethinking the motivation to introduce a new type of chocolate. Peter Boone, the chief innovation and quality officer of Barry Callebaut, has mentioned that, “Consumer research in very different markets confirms that ruby chocolate not only satisfies a new consumer need found among millennials — hedonistic indulgence — but also high purchase intent at different price points.” Simply put, ruby chocolate’s main purpose — like many other trendy foods and drinks — is to look Instagrammable and pretty, while flavor seems to be an afterthought. Overall, it seems like a novelty.

That doesn’t mean that the unique flavor and innovation isn’t there. Reporting from Business Insider noted that the berry flavor of ruby chocolate was “really present” and brands like Trader Joe’s have been quick to add ruby chocolate to its repertoire of goods (though Trader Joe’s ruby chocolate wafers were only offered during February for Valentine’s Day and are not currently for sale). We’re waiting to see whether reinventions of classic chocolate treats, like ruby brownies, ruby chocolate chip cookies, and ruby hot chocolate, will start popping up.

Only time will tell whether ruby chocolate will truly be accepted into the classic chocolate pantheon or cast off as a trendy misfit, but for now, the pleasantly pink confectionery continues to create buzz and stir the chocolate pot.

Source: Thrillist

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Raspberry Meringue Trifles

Ingredients

Meringue

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Custard

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
dash salt
3 cups 2% milk
4 egg yolks
1-2 tsp raspberry or vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh raspberries

Topping

2 cups whipped cream
chocolate garnish (optional)
mint leaves

Method

  1. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  2. Gradually add sugar. Continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Beat in vanilla. Spoon mixture onto foil-lined baking sheet. Spread evenly over pan. Bake at 250°F (120°C) for 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. To make custard, in a medium-size saucepan, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add milk and egg yolks and whisk to combine. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in raspberry or vanilla extract. Cover top with plastic wrap. Cool in refrigerator.
  6. Break meringue into small pieces, about 1/2-inch in size.
  7. Spoon 2 tbsp of custard into each dessert cup or glass. Sprinkle each with some of the meringue pieces, followed by some fresh raspberries. Repeat layers. Top each dessert with whipped cream, raspberries and a mint leaf.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Source: Manitoba Egg Farmers

In Pictures: International Desserts

Alfajores, South America

Apfelstrudel, Austria

Baklava, Turkey

Black Forest Cake, Germany

Borma, Middle East and Turkey

Brownies, United States

Video: 3 Minute Standing Ab Workout

You don’t have to go down to the floor to work your abs, and this quick workout proves it. Get ready to work your core while keeping your feet on the floor, all in three minutes!

The Three-Minute Standing Ab Workout consists of four ab exercises done for 45 seconds each:

1) March and Squeeze – Start with both hands straight up in the air and bring one knee all the way up while bringing your arms down, keeping your hands above your elbows and near your body, so your elbows and knee line up, with your knee in between both arms. As you do this, squeeze your abs. Return to the starting position and do the same thing with your other knee, and continue to alternate knees.

2) Elbow to Opposite Knee – Bring one arm up so your elbow is at chest height and your hand is above your elbow, and bring your opposite knee up while bringing that arm down so your elbow meets your knee (don’t hit them together hard). As you do this, squeeze your abs. Return them back to their starting point and do the same thing with your other knee and elbow, and continue to alternate.

3) Straight Leg Raises – Keeping your leg a straight as possible, raise it up in front of your body with bringing the opposite arm down, reaching out your hand to touch your foot (or as close as you can get). Return them back to their starting point and do the same thing with your other leg and arm, and continue to alternate.

4) Rotate and Punch – Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart and rotate your upper body, throwing a jab out with your arm. Then rotate the other direction and jab with your other arm. Your feet should stay in about the same location the whole time, with just a little twist of the same foot of the arm that is jabbing to allow the body to rotate.

Do each of these exercises consecutively, for a total of three minutes, and you will have got an awesome ab workout while never going to the ground.

Watch video at You Tube (3:35 minutes) . . . . .

Virtual Reality Can Spot Navigation Problems in Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Virtual reality (VR) can identify early Alzheimer’s disease more accurately than ‘gold standard’ cognitive tests currently in use, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.

The study highlights the potential of new technologies to help diagnose and monitor conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 525,000 people in the UK.

In 2014, Professor John O’Keefe of UCL was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for ‘discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain’. Essentially, this means that the brain contains a mental ‘satnav’ of where we are, where we have been, and how to find our way around.

A key component of this internal satnav is a region of the brain known as the entorhinal cortex. This is one of the first regions to be damaged in Alzheimer’s disease, which may explain why ‘getting lost’ is one of the first symptoms of the disease. However, the pen-and-paper cognitive tests used in clinic to diagnose the condition are unable to test for navigation difficulties.

In collaboration with Professor Neil Burgess at UCL, a team of scientists at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge led by Dr Dennis Chan, previously Professor O’Keefe’s PhD student, developed and trialled a VR navigation test in patients at risk of developing dementia. The results of their study are published today in the journal Brain.

In the test, a patient dons a VR headset and undertakes a test of navigation while walking within a simulated environment. Successful completion of the task requires intact functioning of the entorhinal cortex, so Dr Chan’s team hypothesised that patients with early Alzheimer’s disease would be disproportionately affected on the test.

The team recruited 45 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust Mild Cognitive Impairment and Memory Clinics, supported by the Windsor Research Unit at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. Patients with MCI typically exhibit memory impairment, but while MCI can indicate early Alzheimer’s, it can also be caused by other conditions such as anxiety and even normal aging. As such, establishing the cause of MCI is crucial for determining whether affected individuals are at risk of developing dementia in the future.

The researchers took samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to look for biomarkers of underlying Alzheimer’s disease in their MCI patients, with 12 testing positive. The researchers also recruited 41 age-matched healthy controls for comparison.

All of the patients with MCI performed worse on the navigation task than the healthy controls. However, the study yielded two crucial additional observations. First, MCI patients with positive CSF markers – indicating the presence of Alzheimer’s disease, thus placing them at risk of developing dementia – performed worse than those with negative CSF markers at low risk of future dementia.

Secondly, the VR navigation task was better at differentiating between these low and high risk MCI patients than a battery of currently-used tests considered to be gold standard for the diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s.

“These results suggest a VR test of navigation may be better at identifying early Alzheimer’s disease than tests we use at present in clinic and in research studies,” says Dr Chan.

VR could also help clinical trials of future drugs aimed at slowing down, or even halting, progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, the first stage of drug trials involves testing in animals, typically mouse models of the disease. To determine whether treatments are effective, scientists study their effect on navigation using tests such as a water maze, where mice have to learn the location of hidden platforms beneath the surface of opaque pools of water. If new drugs are found to improve memory on this task, they proceed to trials in human subjects, but using word and picture memory tests. This lack of comparability of memory tests between animal models and human participants represents a major problem for current clinical trials.

“The brain cells underpinning navigation are similar in rodents and humans, so testing navigation may allow us to overcome this roadblock in Alzheimer’s drug trials and help translate basic science discoveries into clinical use,” says Dr Chan. “We’ve wanted to do this for years, but it’s only now that VR technology has evolved to the point that we can readily undertake this research in patients.”

In fact, Dr Chan believes technology could play a crucial role in diagnosing and monitoring Alzheimer’s disease. He is working with Professor Cecilia Mascolo at Cambridge’s Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence to develop apps for detecting the disease and monitoring its progression. These apps would run on smartphones and smartwatches. As well as looking for changes in how we navigate, the apps will track changes in other everyday activities such as sleep and communication.

“We know that Alzheimer’s affects the brain long before symptoms become apparent,” says Dr Chan. “We’re getting to the point where everyday tech can be used to spot the warning signs of the disease well before we become aware of them.

“We live in a world where mobile devices are almost ubiquitous, and so app-based approaches have the potential to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at minimal extra cost and at a scale way beyond that of brain scanning and other current diagnostic approaches.”

Source: University of Cambridge


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