A new city = new haunts, new places and new discoveries… and this includes FOOD. I am SO EXCITED to be living in a city famous for its ridiculous number of cafes, hole-in-the-walls and general foodie vibe. I do not need much encouragement to get amongst it all, but as an additional incentive (and just for fun), I’ll make a point of reviewing my finds here on Apples and Anarchy.
My first review is not about a place but a product, which is available throughout Australia (and New Zealand I think!). It is made by a company that is 100% Australian owned and operated… It seems fitting to start with something v Aussie : )
In the South of Melbourne, there is a humming market place. The huge building in which all the market shops and stalls are housed is not pretty: its brickwork is heavy handed and brutalist, the interior is grey and industrial, and the lighting is cold and dimly lit. And yet, some of the loveliest boutiques, artists, florists and grocerists (this is a word I just made up for grocery vendors. It sounds legit so lets just roll with it, yeah?) sell their wares here.
One of these shops is a discount health food store. It is small but stacked to the brim with the usual suspects (supplements, flours, gluten-free this, vegan that, and every nut butter under the sun, to name but a few), and I have spent a considerable amount of time in there, poking and prodding these items lovingly. And in this shop, I have become partial to a little treat known as Banjo the Bear.
I mean, just look at him.
How sweet is that face?? Yes, I’ll willingly admit that I judged t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶i̶t̶s̶ ̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ the treat by its wrapper, but I was not disappointed by the contents. Banjo the bear has a distinct carob flavour: a little sweet and earthy, like chocolate in texture but not in taste… Which brings me to say: Carob has a bad rep but only because it has been touted as a “chocolate substitute,” which is grossly unfair. Chocolate is chocolate. Carob is carob. It would be like ordering a muffin, expecting it to taste like cupcake, and being sorely disappointed to find otherwise. But to conclude muffins are “bad” would be a tragedy! (In case you can’t tell, I really like muffins. Cupcakes too. But muffins are muffins. Cupcakes are cupcakes. I think you get my point).
Whilst carob might not compare to chocolate in flavour, like chocolate it does pair so well with mint. Minty Banjo’s carobyness is complemented by natural peppermint essence, which cuts through the sweetness and almost tingles on the tongue (so fresh and so clean).
He is the perfect pocket sized snack and ending to a meal. And if peppermint’s not your jam, these guys also come in plain carob. This one is one for the carob lovers, since the flavour is distinctly carob-y, with notes of vanilla and butterscotch.
Image from The Carob Kitchen
I realise this sounds like a promo of sorts, but The Carob Kitchen ain’t paying me for this – I just really like Mr Banjo, and think you might too!