An all-natural pink chocolate? Maybe you have been reading the headlines about a new chocolate known as Ruby. I went to Zürich recently to talk with Kay Keusen of Taucherli, to learn more about this trendy new chocolate, as well as his unique “Bean-to-Bar” products.
A Truly Swiss Chocolate, Handmade in Zürich
Originally from Basel, Kay Keusen breathed new life into the Taucherli brand about three years ago, after its founders decided to sell the company. Keusen has an entrepreneurial history, starting several companies before becoming a Swiss chocolatier. Having always been passionate about chocolate, which he talks about with great enthusiasm, he spent the last few years studying and learning how to make it himself. Today, his award-winning chocolates are well-known in Zürich.
Taucherli is the name used by the locals in Zürich for the Eurasian Coot, a native waterbird. Its use as the logo for Keusen’s chocolate company grew from one of its first products—the Taucherli, a special chocolate cube attached to a wooden stick. Like the Taucherli diving into water (tauchen means to dive in German), the chocolate praline on a stick dives into a mug of milk to make a delicious hot chocolate. You can choose from four different types of this product: Chili, Milk, Mocca and Schwarz (dark chocolate).
Keusen described the difference between the two types of chocolate bars produced by Taucherli. First, he makes bars using couverture, chocolate made by someone else that he purchases, adds ingredients to and then forms into bars or geometric Easter bunnies, for example. Currently, he makes 10 different types of couverture bars, including his new Ruby chocolate. Here are some other examples of these bars:
- Gold – Milk chocolate (31%) with flavors of Nidelzältli, a Swiss caramel.
- Raps – Milk chocolate (32%) with roasted canola seeds from Switzerland.
- La Donna – The so-called “Women’s chocolate,” a milk chocolate (32%) made with raspberries, hazelnuts and raspberries.
- Petazeta – The candy known as “pop rocks,” which explode in your mouth and are known as Peta Zetas in Switzerland, are found in this milk chocolate bar (32%).
- Schwarz – Dark chocolate with a hint of peppermint (69%).
The second type of chocolate bars made by Taucherli receives a special “Bean-to-Bar” label. It includes a date for when the chocolate was produced, just like a local wine from Zürich would. Keusen wants to take his “customers on a journey,” with this style of chocolate—sharing the flavors of the place where the beans are produced, not masking their taste with other flavors, like vanilla.
Switzerland has a proven reputation for producing high-quality milk chocolate, but Keusen said the majority of this chocolate is not truly Swiss, as it is processed abroad. Taucherli has become one of only a small number of producers in Switzerland that make their own chocolate, purchasing cocoa beans and doing it all themselves—roasting, grinding, conching and more. In Zürich, he mentioned two other producers also using this method—Garçoa and La Flor. Keusen and these other producers are reinventing what it means to be a Swiss chocolatier.
At this time, Taucherli sells three types of Bean-to-Bar chocolate with cocoa beans from Colombia and Nicaragua. The current collection of this “Limited Edition” chocolate is all dark, without any added milk. This chocolate features only a few raw ingredients—cocoa mass, sugar and cocoa butter. To make this special chocolate, the beans are stone ground for up to 100 hours.
Usually, I prefer milk chocolate over dark, so I didn’t know how I would feel about Keusen’s handmade chocolate. I tried two of Taucherli’s Bean-to-Bar products: Nicaragua (67%) with canola seeds and Colombia (77%) with cocoa nibs. In my opinion, these bars allow the natural flavor of the cocoa beans to come through. With a mild sweetness, I enjoyed the rich flavors of the chocolate. Seeing the process that Keusen uses to make them, and knowing that he selects high-quality cocoa beans from producers that he trusts, only adds to the value of this locally-made chocolate.
In addition to chocolate bars, Taucherli also sells chocolate fondue in milk, dark and white chocolate. Keusen recommends these for when you go camping. These would also make a nice gift for family or friends.
Ruby – Taucherli’s All-Natural Pink Chocolate Bar
Last fall, I began seeing news headlines about a new pink chocolate developed by Zürich-based Barry Callebaut. This company launched its Ruby chocolate in Shanghai in September 2017, after spending nearly a decade working to develop this fourth style of chocolate—following milk, dark and white. An all-natural chocolate, without any artificial colors, Barry Callebaut uses a secret recipe to make its Ruby Chocolate, which Taucherli purchases as couverture for its 100-gram chocolate bars. The so-called “Ruby cocoa bean,” which some claim is made from unfermented cocoa beans, produces a red-hued cocoa mass. When mixed with cocoa butter, it gives the chocolate an inviting pink color.
Personally, I like white chocolate, which Taucherli’s Ruby chocolate reminds me of in terms of its smoothness. However, this pink chocolate also has a light fruity and slightly acidic taste. Altogether, this chocolate bar contains 40 percent chocolate: 4.5 percent cocoa mass and 27.5 percent cocoa butter.
I can think of many different ways to use Ruby chocolate in baking, such as cakes, cookies and more. My first test at home was with my trusted Betty Crocker recipe for chocolate chip cookies. At first glance via Instagram, one person thought I had used rhubarb, while another thought they were made with ham! Of course, it was Taucherli’s pink chocolate, roughly chopped, along with slivered almonds. The Ruby chocolate gave these cookies a surprising appearance—a new twist on a classic American treat.
Taucherli’s Award-Winning Chocolate
This spring, Taucherli picked up several awards at the German, Austrian and Swiss Competition (DACH) of the International Chocolate Awards, held in Hannover, Germany. For the category of “Milk chocolate with inclusions or pieces,” two of his couverture bars won silver medals: La Donna and Raps. Noël, his chocolate bar for Christmas, picked up a bronze medal for the category of “White chocolate bars with inclusions or pieces.”
For a uniquely Swiss chocolate, handmade in Zürich, Taucherli offers a wide selection of flavors and styles. Whether a trendy pink chocolate, a milk chocolate fondue for your next picnic or a limited edition Bean-to-Bar chocolate, you are sure to find a chocolate to suit every taste.
Where to buy: