Let me say this right up-front -- there is NO substitute for chocolate! The poor carob pod and its syrup became horribly maligned during the 1970's as some kind of chocolate substitute. Memories of carob brownies still make me shudder with revulsion.
Then I ended up living 3 years in Cyprus, where carob was known until modern times as "black gold" and enjoyed a thriving trade around the Mediterranean. It wasn't until the last year that at the urging of a friend, I finally picked up and tried a carob pod on a wildflower hike in the countryside. It was love at first bite! My young son and I them came to look forward to picking up the pods in Cyprus and snacking on them during outings to the countryside. Luckily, it was spring, and I quickly realized how beautifully carob syrup would complement fresh figs, especially with some Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream on the side. Carob syrup is rich, dense, and complex like molasses, but not as thick or heavy. Like molasses, it is also rich in iron and nutrients -- presumably why the health nuts caught onto it. Use it when you want a flavor between molasses and honey. Try it first on some plain vanilla ice cream if you're hesitant, and then count the days until the figs appear in the market and enjoy!