Carob - the gold of ragusa
September is the month when carob pods fall from their trees and the Province of Ragusa is particularly abundant in beautiful carob trees – a protected vegetable crop in Sicily. In Italian the word for carob is "Carruba".
The fruit of the carob tree has provided man with nourishment since ancient times and in Sicily the fruit is also known as “St. John’s bread” because of its biblical references.
Carob trees are loved in Sicily because they are evergreen and provide excellent shade as much as for their fruit. They are now a protected species.
Today in Sicily, carob is ground to make a thick-textured flour which is used in the production of biscuits. Carob is used in some types of Modican chocolate, the manufacture of a liqueur and is the main ingredient in some local cough sweets.
Local pasta shapes called lolli are also made from carob flour and carob is used in health foods and cattle feed.
Carob is also considered by many an adequate substitute for chocolate because it has some similar nutrients and because it can, when combined with vegetable fat and sugar, be made to approximate the color and consistency of chocolate.
Here at Original Sicily we have carob in one of its classic preparations, Carob Amaretti, both prepared from the old town of Modica following the sicilian traditions.