Does the thought of a sweet version of our favourite chick pea dip delight or disgust you?
Chickpea-based dessert dips are already a thing in the US, but hadn't reached our shores. Until now. This week, just ahead of today's International Hummus Day, a sweet hummus has been launched here.
Mandira - another US-inspired concept, which I wrote about here, and which touts Turkish bagels alongside pots of thick Turkish yoghurt with sweet and savoury toppings in Covent Garden, have started stocking sweet hummus.
This is actually houmous - same dip, different spelling. No, actually, a very different dip. No tahina, no garlic, no cumin. But chickpeas cooked to buttery softness and blended to a smooth puree with a little sugar, lemon and chickpea water - known as aquafaba in vegan circles. This base is then flavoured in one of three different ways. On offer are: Chocolate (choc-o-chick); Mixed Berry and Bannoffee Pie.
Behind this brainwave are North West Londoners – Harry Tyndall and Jake Finn. A couple of years ago at the tender age of 28, Tyndall suffered health issues that forced him to make a change to his diet.
"I had kidney stones and gout, which my father had suffered from so could have been hereditary. I had to cut out red meat and rich dairy food. I'd always enjoyed my food. A bit too much maybe as I weighed my age at 12. I used to microwave tubs of Ben and Jerry's as a smoothie" says Tyndall.
His new eating regime left him healthy and slimmed down. He explains that hummus became a staple, but he still had that sweet tooth. "I hit upon the idea of sweet hummus, as it was better for me but would satisfy my sweet tooth" he explains.
Research turned up a US brand that made hummus in several dessert flavours. Tyndall arranged to have some shipped over and tasted their vanilla; chocolate; mint choc and Snickerdoodle hummus. "The Snickerdoodle was not at all what I expected" he laughs.
By then he had paired up with Jake Finn, a former JFS pupil who he had met on tour in Israel more than 10 years earlier. "Jake had worked as a senior chef at a number of restaurants including La Petit Maison and Coya" explains Tyndall, a former Highgate School pupil and Head of Sales for Deliveroo. "We hadn't seen each other since tour and I was asking him to go into business with me making sweet hummus!"
Tyndall, who had worked for several years for Deliveroo ("When I started there were 30 of us and when I left the staff numbered more than 1700") and Finn started testing recipes for their range. "When we tasted the US brand it was smooth but our texture was still quite chunky, so we decided to make ours smoother and more like a puree" he explains. They were happy with their flavours, which contain only a few ingredients each. "We use dark chocolate, cocoa and coconut milk in the choc-o-chick; strawberries, blueberries and some sugar in the mixed berries and just bananas and a caramel in the bannoffee."
In March, Tyndall resigned from Deliveroo, to launch his new sweet hummus pots and the pair are now looking to introduce the products to independent retailers. "We see the chocolate flavour as a competitor to chocolate spreads; the mixed berry flavour to jam and the bannoffee pie to nut butters. They are far healthier than any of those, with much lower saturated fats."
Samplling the different dip yesterday in Covent Garden, Tyndall reported that most people liked the chocolate but had mixed views on the other two flavours. "They seem to like one or the other" he said.
It's currently available only at Mandira in Covent Garden where a 180g pot retails for £3.50.