A sweet carob treat

It’s that time of year when we see dried carob beans littering the floor of anyone’s garden that sports a hardy carob tree. Common to much of the Mediterranean basin and especially prevalent here in the Algarve, the humble carob pod is something of a super food, rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and natural fibres.
In some countries its main use is as animal fodder, but here in the Algarve it features in many regional cakes and puddings. Traditionally used as a chocolate substitute in times of hardship, it is something of an acquired taste, but once you get the taste for it, it is quite addictive. It was only recently that I discovered this chocolate carob bar called Chocoalfarroba Gourmet, the main ingredient of which is local Algarve almonds.
I found it at Apolónia supermarket but a quick call to the phone number on the back revealed that this handmade delicacy is also available at gourmet shops, not only in the Algarve but also in Lisbon. The bar is made from good quality dark chocolate blended with carob powder, adding its unique earthy taste and the almonds giving a satisfying crunch.
What a great little gift to send to friends in different countries for a real taste of the Algarve – the producer told me that he will soon be launching a new fig and carob version, which I will be on the lookout for.
Chocoalfarroba is priced at around €6.
By Patrick Stuart [email protected]