Saturday, October 04, 2014

soom tahini :: review

Press sample for review [Regular] 
Purchased by me [Chocolate]

How cute is this packaging?

Tahini is one staple I simply can't live without. I use it in baking, in hummus and other dips, as a base for sauces and salad dressings, and I've even been known to occasionally rock the tahini and jelly sandwich – much more sophisticated alternative to PB and J. Sometimes when I need a quick pick-me-up, I'll just nosh on a tablespoon straight from the jar.

SoomFoods is a newish company that produces tahini. Of course, since they're based in Philly, my home city, I was extra curious. So stoked when the nice ladies behind the sesame butter sent me a jar of their regular tahini to sample.

My kind of ingredient list. It should just say "Ingredient" – singular, not plural
Soom Tahini is crafted from just one ingredient – sesame seeds, specifically – Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds. Honestly, despite the pervasive "foodie" culture, I never really thought about varieties of sesame seeds before, other than black and white. After doing some research I learned that many sesame seed varieties exist, each with their own flavor quirks. The White Humera is grown in the Humera region of Ethiopia.

Creamy-dreamy silky tahini
As a rule, I've nonchalantly grabbed tahini from the shelves of ethnic markets or natural food stores. Each brand I had sampled had the same signature, smoky-heavy flavor. So that's what I was expecting with Soom. One taste, though, and it was as if I had never before tried tahini. In addition to the signature smokiness – albeit more subtle – Soom Tahini also has a silky lightness and creaminess. The word that kept popping into my head was "luxurious." So far, I've used in to make my standby tahini sauce, as well as a few batches of salad dressing, and hummus. It imparts its light smokiness into whatever recipe you use it in. Apparently, chef Michael Solomonov who runs Zahav, one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, orders 100 pounds of Soom each week. Zahav's hummus is the best I've ever sampled in a restaurant – and I've sampled hummus throughout Israel, Jordan and Syria.

Chocolate tahini? Yes, indeedy!
After that happy Soom tahini experience, I spied a jar of Soom Chocolate Sesame Butter calling out to me in a local market. I grabbed it, of course, and an hour later, half was gone. Yes, I ate it right from the jar and I'm not sorry. It was magnificent – imagine all of the wonderful qualities of the white tahini I just described, pimped with a decadent shot of rich chocolate to magnify the delectable smokiness. If you like chocolate hazelnut spreads [like Nutella, which in the US is not vegan], you will adore this.

Soom Chocolate Tahini may cause you to break up with your chocolate hazelnut spread.
The bottom line: I loved Soom tahinis and I will definitely buy them both again. They are now officially my go-to tahinis.

To see where you can buy Soom Tahini, look here.
To order Soom Tahini online, look here

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