Submitted By Simon Hardy Butler, February 26, 2017
As Pete Seeger might have sung, it’s a long time passing.
Seriously, though: What’s the deal? Remember when carob was a big thing? You saw it in ice cream. You saw it in candy. You even saw it in its raw form, as a pod.
Once upon a time, this unusual fruit was viewed as a substitute for chocolate, as the ingredient, when processed, had a similar color–silky brown–and texture, though the flavor is much more heady and aromatic. These days, however, you can hardly even find it in health food stores, where its appearances were so ubiquitous … and damned if you’d be able to see it on the menu of a local restaurant. You’d have to be some kind of daring chef to put that product in one of your dishes.
Or would you? This is a delicious substance, in my humble opinion, and severely underappreciated. Maybe it’s not chocolate, yet so what? It stands on its own as a subtle, unique treat. I’d like to see it featured more prominently in eateries across New York City. That it’s not is quite bizarre. This is, to my mind, a little-tapped resource.
Gourmets are always looking for the next kiwi, the next kale. Could carob take that label? Sure, it’s not to everyone’s taste, but it’s certainly of value in desserts, and in savories it could pack quite a punch. What it needs is some inventive chefs to champion it. Bring it to the table. Capture it in photos and post them on social media. And make it popular again.
It can be done. It should be done. For carob is something that has a lot of value. I’ve always enjoyed it.
If it pops up on menus more regularly in the future, I think others will have a chance to enjoy it, too.