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The long, brown leathery carob pod is the fruit of a tree native to the Mediterranean. The pod contains hard seeds and an edible pulp, which can be eaten fresh, or dried and ground into a powder. Carob is sweet and has a similar flavour to chocolate and because it contains less fat than chocolate, it is often used as an alternative to cocoa and chocolate in cakes, biscuits and puddings (but it is too sweet to act as a substitute for dark or bitter chocolate). As carob has a milder flavour than chocolate and because it contains no cocoa butter, carob is not recommended when you want a really strong chocolate flavour or a smooth glossy finish, such as in mousses or rich chocolate cakes. Carob is sold at health food shops and is available as powder, chocolate bars and drops.
Also known as—locust bean, St John’s bread