Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Appearances can be deceiving: whilst the fruit of carob trees may be as black as coal and look like distasteful peas, carobs are not only very tasty but healthy as well.

The Latin name for carob, Ceratonia siliqua derives from an ancient Greek word meaning 'small horn' - referring to the carob pod, whose sweet content was used so extensively in antiquity that Egyptians turned it into the hieroglyph for 'sweet'. Moreover, it is low-fat, gluten-free and caffeine-free, thus suitable for diabetics and those with gluten or caffeine intolerance. This natural sweetener is also rich in proteins and vitamins (A, B1, B2 D) and therefore ideal for a healthy and balanced diet. 

The tree grows across the Mediterranean and on many Greek islands, among which, Crete. Ilias Manousakas, a local entrepreneur who moved to Greece after having spent years in Canada, says he was attracted by the idea of making carob products from the very beginning. Although hard to process, carob pods can be used for making an endless variety of products which can be consumed as alternatives to cocoa, coffee, tea, jams, honey, energy bars, pasta and even bread. 

The products of 'Creta Carob', Manousakas’s company, are now available outside Greece, exported to many European countries, the Middle East and Canada. "The investment was demanding, since our unit is one out of five existing in the world,” says Manousakas. “We hope to expand and enter more health food stores, so that everyone can meet the amazing properties of carob!"