In bygone times, carobs were used as food for the domestic animals (goats, pigs, sheep, mules, etc.) that every Ibiza family depended on. They were only eaten by people when times were hard, as they contained nutrients and energy. Carobs were also used for therapeutic purposes back then.
Although unaware of it, our island is gifting us this “sweet gem”, commonly found in the vast groves of carob trees that stretch across Ibiza.
Nowadays, the carob is making a spectacular comeback due to its many and well-known nutritional properties, including plant proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins, huge mineral content, fibre and a long list of others, earning it the title of superfood. This “natural chocolate from Ibiza” is even better than cocoa, which has a 23% fat content, whereas carob contains only 7%. It does not cause allergies and is gluten free, making it suitable for coeliac sufferers.
Ibiza-based company Frutos Secos de Ibiza
has been promoting this natural local product for the last 4 years. The brand has created Exquisite, a range of products made exclusively from this fruit, such as carob flour, chocolate, candy, liquor and beer, and now the eagerly awaited Carob Syrup has just gone on sale
This interesting and healthy syrup, composed solely of water and carob, is obtained by boiling pieces of fresh carob in water for about 2 hours. The carobs used are purchased from the Sant Antoni Farming cooperative. The next step is to press and reduce the carobs by boiling them for another 3 hours, approximately.
You can find this delicious product on sale in big supermarkets like Eroski. It usually costs about 7 or 8 euros. A syrup made from organically grown carobs is currently being developed.
This syrup is innovating the health food market. Export projects are also being devised, making this product accessible to the mass consumer market both at home and abroad, which is excellent news for the island’s economic development. At the moment, and because of the interest shown by Holland in this product, negotiations are in progress for exporting it to other countries.
Eco-friendly association Ibiza Ecologic
and Casita Verde, which have been promoting the use of local products for years, have been the pioneers in the creation and innovation processes for carob syrup, enabling it to go ahead and collaborating in the project with Holland as promoter.
Carob syrup has many uses in the kitchen, as it can be used as a base for preparing hundreds of dishes of all kinds (including vegetarian and vegan meals). It can also be used as a coffee substitute, a sweetener for cakes, pastries, ice creams, sorbets, etc., and to season meat (mixed with Ibiza salt and oil, for example). In fact, it has as many applications as a cook’s imagination can come up with.
It looks like this is just the beginning of a long journey in the history of this traditional Ibiza tree. If this is the case, the benefits would lead to a resurgence of the island’s traditional farming methods and the preservation of its native landscape.