By Nutritionist Melissa Fine.
Carob is making a comeback. No longer the daggy alternative to chocolate it was in the 70s and 80s, even chocoholics are converting. Here’s why:
1) It’s naturally sweet: So much so that you generally wont find added sugar in carob products. Even in its purest state – in its pod or kibbled – carob is sweet enough, with an aromatic caramel and malt flavour, and a smooth mouthfeel. The pods and kibbles have a nice chew to them too, so you get to savour them for longer. And if you don’t like the bitterness in cacao or dark chocolate, carob isn’t bitter at all. Lately I’m loving Banjo the Mint Carob Bear (not just for kids!) by The Carob Kitchen – It contains only 5.1 g of sugar, compared to 10.3 g of sugar in a certain popular fun size chocolate confectionery bar. Individually wrapped, it’s also perfect for portion control.
2) It wont keep you up at night: Carob is great if you’re sensitive to the caffeine in chocolate. Carob is also free from theobromine, a stimulating, bitter compound that’s related to caffeine and inherent in cacao. A warm drink made with carob powder and your favourite milk makes a great alternative to a hot chocolate. Or, swap those two squares of chocolate you have after dinner for a Banjo Bear with a cup of calming chamomile tea.
3) It’s minimally processed: Your typical chocolate bar from the supermarket is loaded with highly processed ‘food-like’ ingredients, such as glucose syrup, vegetable fat and hydrolysed milk protein. Look for products with real ingredients like organically grown carob powder, cocoa butter and natural vanilla.
4) It’s high in fibre: This is because carob is not confectionery, it’s actually a bean! In fact it’s a member of the legume family. Just 20 g (or a generous handful) of The Carob Kitchen’s Carob Kibble Nibbles gives you over 5 g of fibre, so can help keep you regular.
5) It’s diverse: Because its sweetness isn’t overpowering, carob actually works well in sweet and savoury dishes. Courtesy of the The Carob Kitchen HQ, here’s a light and refreshing salad dressing with a kick, thanks to the addition of carob syrup: Simply combine 1 TBS Carob Kitchen Carob Syrup, 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp wholegrain mustard and 1 clove of garlic, finely grated. Give it a little shake or stir, then pour over your favourite green salad.