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whatever happened to carob?

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, it seemed like carob was the ubiquitous "natural" substitute for chocolate... but now, even in a rising culture of health food, alternatives, and organic such-and-such, you don't hear much about it.

So my question is-- where did carob go? Or, am I tragically out of the carob loop? Is carob just not that good?

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  1. i don't know. most carob i ever had tasted like chalk mixed with carnauba wax, tree bark and coffee grounds. might have something to do with it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tuqueboy

      Great description. Also not so long ago I believe they found a raft of health benefits to do with chocolate and the opposite for carob... almost like in Woody Allen's "Sleeper"!

    2. I think the reason is that so many people just don't like the flavor. There was a thread a while back, and I was really surprised that EVERYONE who posted disliked it. I happen to like it, though I guess I haven't had it in too many guises. there is a food co-op near me that gets terrific raisins covered in unsweetened carob in bulk that remain for me one of the most addictive foods on the planet. In fact, I totally don't get chocolate covered raisins; even the dark variety are far too sweet. But I adore the subtle smokiness of carob.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve

        agreed. i adore carob raisins but find chocolate raisins cloyingly sweet.

        then again, i much prefer dark chocolate [the darker the better] to milk...and since i think it's the slightly bitter taste & earthiness inherent in carob that makes us either love it or hate it, dark chocolate lovers are probably more inclined to have the palate for it.

      2. i remember the "carob hype" b/c my mom once bought carob milk instead of chocolate for the kids and we loved it so much but then never saw it again. i remember a while back wondering whatever happened to it myself... i have seen carob chips at places like Henry's.

        1. Back when chocolate was considered bad for you it was roundly touted as a chocolate substitute. Like most things that are thought of as a substiturte it doesn't do all that well - as a substitute. It doesn't supply the chemical fix that chocolate supplies either, so it gradually lost ground. Heck, carob sweets were often made with "bad" other ingredients, like highly saturated palm oil, so that the nutitional advantages -- even as thought of at the time -- were more than cancelled out. And being made and distributed by much smaller natural foods companies it was a lot more expensive.

          Personally, I like carob. But I do not think of it as a "chocolate substitute". As one it is pretty mediocre. As carob, however, it's pretty good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Richard 16

            I agree. I love carob - AND chocolate (the dark kind). But they don't taste at all alike.

            1. re: Richard 16

              i guess all the additives were what actually made the carob milk taste good to us! who would've known? :)

            2. Times have changed, and there is very little to recommend carob except the taste (which I like). Chocolate, it seems, is full of antioxidants and is actually healthy. I hear that carob is naturally sweet without sugar, but all the products you generally buy it in are so processed it's hard to know what's good or bad about it. I think the original reason for the substitution was caffeine, but chocolate has so little caffeine in it anyway. Try as i might, I think it's really difficult to find a lot of reasons to get behind carob.