Crédit Photo : Carob World

The carob, the Mediterranean black fruit

In Portugal, Carob World is an innovative project that promotes the carob, a fruit specific to this country.

Started in 2015 though a partnership with the food engineering department of the University of Algarve, it took two years of work to arrive at the creation of carob bars (Carob Bar) and spreads (Carob Spread).

The product was put on the market in April 2019 in Portugal with an e-shop and then physical points of sale throughout the country. The brand is now looking to make a name for itself around the world.

The carob of yesterday and today

History tells that agriculture came to southern Europe via the Mediterranean Sea due to small migrations of people around 7,500 years ago. Among the seeds brought back from the Middle East and North Africa were the carob seeds, which developed throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Carob is now produced in several countries, but the largest producers are located near the Mediterranean Sea. Italy is the largest producer of carob, followed by Spain. Portugal, although not bordering by the Mediterranean Sea, is the third-largest producer of carob in the world.

Photo Credit: Carob World

Carob, fruit of the carob tree

The carob tree is a tree that gives birth to a rich and exotic fruit called carob. In the form of an elongated pod, the carob contains in its interior between 10 and 16 seeds, all uniform, with the same dimensions and the same weight. Their name is actually the origin of the word carat, which represented the weight of a carob seed, in the gemstone trade.

Each carob contains a fleshy pulp made up of sugars, starch, proteins and in smaller proportions, fats, tannins and mineral salts. Carob is rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, silica, iron and pectin. The thickening properties are due to the presence of a natural sugar, galactomannan.

Ripened by time and heat, the carob pod is harvested and cleaned by hand. After natural drying, the pulp is carefully separated from the seeds and crushed to be used in the manufacture of sweets.

A natural and elegant product

At Carob World, traditional flavour meets innovation and transforms the mystical fruit of the Mediterranean into unique experiences.

The current range consists of 6 products (4 bars and 2 spreads) of which 3 are certified vegan:

  • The ‘Carob and Almond Spread’ (carob and almond cream) 
  • The ‘Carob Bar’ bar
  • The ‘Carob Almond Bar’ bar
Photo Credit: Carob World

The products are not yet certified organic but this remains a medium-term objective.

The range can be consumed in different contexts: in hotels, in hotel rooms as a welcome gift, in ‘gourmet’ areas, for corporate events, but also as an accompaniment to a good wine or coffee.

The cork boxes contain 2 spreads and 4 mini-bars. The cardboard boxes are customizable and can contain 4 mini-bars of 12 grams each and 1 spread.

With its packaging elegantly designed by a Portuguese designer, the boxes tell the story of a country, a region, a product. In this packaging, Portuguese cork is highlighted and the foreign visitor can take home as a souvenir two of the country’s flagship products.

Photo Credit: Carob World

Carob is an interesting alternative to traditional chocolate and all recipes that use cocoa can be replaced by carob. We can also find some recipe ideas on the Carob World site.

To date, there is still no distribution in France but the search for distributors is in progress. We will soon be able to find all Carob World products in restaurants and specialized stores. In the meantime, it is possible to order online or to taste the carob during a visit to Portugal!

Photo Credit: Carob World

Are you a Chef and want to learn how to work with carob? Join Le Club Institut V and come share your recipes!

Translated by Malvika Kathpal

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