Black is the New Black – For Food!

Wildly colored foods are not a new thing in the culinary world. Oddly-colored desserts, breads and the like have coming out of commercial and home kitchens for a few years now. Black is, in my opinion, one of the oddest of the odd colored foods. There is just something about a food that is not supposed to be black that makes me do a double take. Until recently, Squid Ink was the preferred method of blackening food, with items like Squid Ink Pasts and Baguettes making for striking presentation.

Now, a new blackening ingredient is making a stir in the culinary world – Activated Charcoal. This is not the same charcoal you might have around your house for backyard barbecue, so please do not grind that up and put into your food. Activated Charcoal is a super food made by burning plant matter like the fibers of coconuts to create an antioxidant rich source of flavor and color.

This same product is used in a wide variety of culinary applications from pizza dough to cocktails and ice cream across the US and Canada. The trend is gaining popularity, with several boutique shops carrying entire lines of Activated Charcoal products. Not everyone seems to be in love with the blackness, though. Although it is food grade and safe for consumption, you are still adding charcoal into food and drink recipes. Some chefs, bartenders, etc are pushing back against the trend, indicating that the charcoal adds undesirable taste and texture to certain foods.