When the Middle Eastern restaurant Bar Saracen closed, it left a hole in the hearts of Melburnians that could only be filled with hummus.
And it was finally when ex-chef Tom Sarafian started selling his missing hummus in jar form, along with his new namesake brand. (Lee Ho Fook’s Victor Liong went so far as to call him “the Tom Ford of dips”.)
But today comes its second release: toum, a ridiculously creamy (albeit vegan) Lebanese garlic sauce, almost cloud-like, and packed with one hell of a garlic punch.
Sarafian first got to know him in the early 2010s, while working at Momo under the direction of highly-awarded chef Greg Malouf, an authority on Middle Eastern cuisine.
Sarafian makes his toum by hand with fresh, organic garlic from the Days Walk farm in Keilor; lemon juice, made from local fruits; Australian canola oil without GMOs (genetically modified organisms); and the pink salt of the Lake of the Grampians. It is completely dairy and gluten free.
One of the biggest things about toum is its versatility. It can be used as an ingredient (instead of pure garlic), a condiment, sauce, marinade, or a hot dip.
“In my kitchen, I will always have a lot of pressure on me,” Sarafian said in a press release. “Whenever a recipe calls for garlic, I’ll add a tablespoon of toum instead of a clove of garlic.”
Other presentation suggestions: “[It’s] so delicious to use as a condiment on everything from bread and pickles to sandwiches, cold seafood platters and salad dressings.
“One of my favorite ways to eat toum is the Lebanese style of shish tawook – with charcoal chicken, fries, pickles and pita bread.”
Get in quickly, however. The 300 gram jars are only available during Australian garlic season.
Sarafian toum will be available for $ 18 starting Friday, December 17 at Baker Bleu, All Are Welcome (Northcote), Meatsmith (Fitzroy, St Kilda, Brighton, Balwyn and online) and Morning Market – with more resellers to be announced soon. Stay up to date here.