I never thoughts I'd be writing a piece about carob. Especially after seemingly abandoning my blog for so long.
Here's my memory of carob;
Sandra Boynton's lovely little book about the history of chocolate in which she compares it to carob thus;
A scratch and sniff picture of carob comparing it to soil.
Carob bars turned up in dusty health food shops in the 1970's and '80's at a time when chocolate was seen as unhealthy (horror of horrors). It tasted awful. The carob not the chocolate. Of course we all know better now. It's sugar that's evil and chocolate that's good. Carob got left by the back door.
Fast forward a number of years to an ice cream maker in the Algarve. There amongst the usual flavours was fig. almond and carob.I tried it, I liked it, much to my surprise. On previous trips to the south of Portugal I'd seen carob for sale in markets. Now with new awareness it was everywhere; carob jam, carob liqueur, paired with figs of course, and in cakes and puddings.
As a crop it's been grown for thousands of years.
If like me you've always thought of carob as the poor relation of chocolate give it another chance. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Better people than I have already written extensively about carob.
Next time I'm in Portugal I'm looking forward to trying more carob products. I still don't want to eat it as a chocolate substitute because that way lies disappointment. But as an ingredient in its own right?