Friday, September 26, 2008

Goldie’s Premium Carob Bar

Carob BarLong before I was aware of official FDA definitions for things like chocolate, I was aware that there were chocolate pretenders.

When I was a kid chocolate was regarded as something completely lacking in any merit nutritionally. As an alternative there were carob products. Usually things like carob drops for oatmeal cookies and carob covered milk balls as treats.

Even though I don’t think I had much of a sophisticated palate as a child (I ate Jell-O powder straight from the box), I still knew the difference and preferred real chocolate products.

But now I’m an adult with an awareness of my ability to set aside childhood traumas of being given this supposed treat of carob raisins instead of actual chocolate. (And I certainly question why anyone without allergies would replace chocolate with carob in our modern and well-informed world.) So I picked up what I thought might be a representation of good carob.

Carob BarCarob is an evergreen legume that puts out little pods which are harvested and turned into carob powder. (If you’ve seen Locust Bean tree, they’re closely related and look like that.) It’s been used by humans for at least 4,000 years throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Early sugar was made from these pods.

Carob contains both sugar-sweetness and a roasted flavor that is reminiscent of chocolate in some ways but because it contains no substantial oils or fats of its own, it’s usually consumed as a powder (often called St. John’s bread) in drinks or baked goods. When combined with some fats it can be made into a pasty block somewhat like chocolate.

The simple paper wrapper for Goldie’s Premium Carob Bar says, “no refined sugar, no preservatives, no chocolate, cocoa or caffeine.” Wow, there’s a lot that’s not in there. And I love every one of those things save one.

The ingredients don’t sound too bad to me: Barley malt, fractionated palm kernel oil, carob powder, soy lecithin and milk. (I don’t feel great about fractionated palm kernel oil - I don’t know what it is.) But I love barley malt and milk!

Opening it up, it looks like a milk chocolate bar, but the back of it looks more like freshly poured brownie batter. I recognize that comparing this to chocolate is unfair, so I won’t for the rest of this.

Carob Bar

The snap is kind of soft, but the product is solid, not gooey or melted at all.

It smells like roasted grains. It reminds me a lot of Postum (a drink made from, well, roasted grains).

The texture is rather like eating unbaked pie crust or shortbread dough. It’s thick and rather hearty but with really no melt-in-your mouth-qualities.

I could dissolve it, but it was always a bit waxy. Chewing it resulted in a bit more of a creamy puddle in my mouth as long as I kept it circulating, though it still had a bit of a peanut butter stickiness to it.

I liked the roasted flavors and that it wasn’t very sweet. But the flavor never really popped for me. I’m a big fan of barley. My favorite tea lately is Mugi Cha, which is Japanese roasted barley steeped just like tea (which I was introduced to as a latte at a little place in Hollywood about four years ago). I love barley sugar candy, barley flour in baked goods, especially just barley in soups, pilafs and stews and of course malted milk balls.

I found Goldie’s Carob Bar rib-sticking and substantial but sadly lacking in satisfaction. I could see being happier with it as an ingredient in a combination bar of some sort, maybe with nuts, caramel or wafers/pretzels of some sort. A dash of salty cashews might be a nice complement.

I don’t think carob is a bad thing, I just think it got a bad reputation back in the 70s. This is good quality stuff with a really intriguing flavor (kind of reminds me of halvah in a way) but just not for me.

The nutritional profile of carob is actually not as good as chocolate - no minerals, no calcium or fiber but some protein and virtually the same fat and calories per ounce.

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  4. Malted Crisped Rice Squares
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Name: Goldie's Premium Carob Bar (Plain)
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Goldie's Premium distributed by Complete Nutrition
Place Purchased: Erewhon (Beverly Blvd.)
Price: $3.19
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Mockolate, United States, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:49 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. My dad bought me a carob bunny for Easter one year.  I will never forgive him.

    Comment by Mitch Conners on 9/26/08 at 12:51 pm #
  2. Too bad about the bar :-(

    Comment by VeggieGirl on 9/26/08 at 2:38 pm #
  3. I hate to admit it but I Love unsweetened carob chips. I use to eat them by the handful—OK bagful is more like it.  I just can’t find a brand that does not use the “fractional palm oil” crap!  If anyone knows any that use coconut butter/coco butter please post

    Comment by KL on 9/26/08 at 4:11 pm #
  4. I love the introduction to this post with the talk about how chocolate used to be seen as having no nutritional value. It reminds me of the lines from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” where the doctors talk about how Allen’s character sold health food. The doctors remarked about how they had no steak or cream pies or other items which were now considered good for you.

    As a kid, I remember carob being a poor substitute for chocolate. I can see that some things really haven’t changed.

    Comment by Orchid64 on 9/26/08 at 6:11 pm #
  5. Gross.  Taking the fun out of a treat by trying to make it more healthy just really ruins it.  Have an occasional GOOD treat rather than trying this kind of crap.  I have not had any chocolate in over a week, so I’m about due for something good.

    I do eat a couple of Coffee Nips a day.  Cybele, if you get a chance, try the sugar free Coffee Nips.  The ingredients list is dramatically ‘better,’ since it includes both butter and cream.  The regular one has neither.  I don’t normally buy the sugar free kind (unless I’m somewere that doesn’t have the regular ones), but they taste good and probably deserve a review of their own.  Unlike the carob thing, there are people who have legit reasons to avoid sugar, and I don’t belittle a sugarless choice if it still tastes good.

    Comment by Dave on 9/28/08 at 3:10 pm #
  6. The one good thing about carob is that it’s a safe alternative to chocolate for dogs.  So if your dogs are always eyeing you sadly while you have a chocolatey treat, you can find places that sell carob dog treats.

    Comment by Rita on 10/02/08 at 9:11 am #
  7. Forgot to add - the reason it’s best to find carob dog treats instead of just giving the dog carob is because if it’s meant for humans, it might have things like sugar in it, which IS bad for dogs.

    Comment by Rita on 10/02/08 at 9:12 am #
  8. I love carob, and always have ever since having it as a treat in childhood.  No one tried to trick me into thinking it was chocolate—I think that is the wrong approach.  Just think of it as an alternative flavor.  Ok, it happens to be brown like chocolate, but it is its own taste.

    These Goldie bars are great.  In addition to plain carob, they also have Crisp, and Orange.  I wish I could find them wholesale to buy by the case.

    Comment by Mark on 11/07/08 at 1:12 pm #
  9. I cannot have chocolate due to an allergy to caffeine… and have found Goldie’s a great way to satisfy my taste for the missing candy.  I agree that the texture leaves a little to be desired, but the mint and orange zest flavored bars are delicious, especially cold.  I keep them in the fridge, and snap off a little piece when I want a treat.

    By the way… they can be purchased on Amazon for about $35 for 12 bars. (They sadly do not have the mint, but they do have the orange zest!)

    Comment by MaryEllen on 3/01/09 at 5:33 pm #
  10. I have a cocoa allergy - and I’ve been eating carob chip cookies and drinking carob drinks for years.  I recently found these bars and I could live off them if they weren’t quite so expensive!  They’re wonderful - quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread for me.  smile

    Comment by Alyssa on 7/20/10 at 5:11 pm #
  11. I’m alergic to chocolate, so carob is a dream come true for me!

    Comment by emily on 12/30/11 at 1:42 pm #
  12. Chocolate causes me terrible pain for days if I eat it. The bowel spasms are devastating. Carob, on the otherhand, is perfect for me… and I absolutely LOVE these bars. Yes, for the chocophile, carob isn’t quite the same but for those of us who have missed eating chocolate, the rich, smooth goodness of these bars is well worth the wait. I give these bars an 8/10!

    Comment by Jill Osborne on 8/09/12 at 1:19 pm #
  13. I like both chocolate and carob.  They are different flavors and textures.  Carob used to be just about everywhere in health food stores, but it’s almost impossible to find these days.  I think it was the attempt to try to market it as a chocolate alternative is what killed it.  As carob’s detractors say, it’s NOT chocolate and it doesn’t taste like chocolate.

    Rice Dream used to make a great carob flavored drink, but it is nowhere to be found today.  I really liked Carafection bars, but they are gone now too.  Now I see “Goldie’s Carob Bars” listed on the internet, but have not seen them in stores. Just because something can be found on the internet doesn’t mean it actually is for sale anymore.  But I will try to order some.

    Comment by BlairJ on 9/22/12 at 1:38 pm #
  14. I have seen them in store’s in Canada once i had got a few as i can not have real chocolate, but they stopped getting them here and now i cant find them anywhere

    Comment by Tirina Koopmans on 1/17/13 at 1:13 pm #
  15. I love carob. I love chocolate. Carob confectionery is its own thing and I don’t compare it to anything else. Carob is carob and chocolate is chocolate, and I love them both because they’re both tasty in their own way.

    Comment by Sparkina on 9/21/15 at 3:55 pm #
  16. @blair the Carafection coated rice cake snacks were DIVINE. I was partial to the mint

    Comment by Sparkina on 9/21/15 at 3:57 pm #
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