Meet the Latest, Trendiest Food Ingredient: Charcoal

Meet the Latest, Trendiest Food Ingredient: Charcoal

Bright, vibrant, and visually appetizing foods are a thing of the past. Today, the people demand pitch-black foods that seemingly absorb the light around them like a black hole.

…okay, we’re getting carried away, but dark foods from sinister ice creams and breads, to demonic cocktails and smoothies are popping up on menus and Instagram feeds alike.

charcoal-breadThe darkness comes from activated charcoal, the newest – and oddest – addition to the continuously-growing list of superfoods.

Activated charcoal has been welcomed with open shopping carts by the health food sphere, thanks to its detoxification properties. It’s regularly used for patients in hospitals that’ve overdosed or ingested poison, so there’s some positive benefits there we assume. That’s not to say activated charcoal is like a panacea, for example – it’s simply a supplement and natural colourant, not medication. In moderation, charcoal is just a fun addition to meals here and there, for the average, health-conscious adult.

And no, you can’t get activated charcoal on the cheap by harvesting backyard BBQ coals – they’re not the same. Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning plant fibres.


Related: Four Food Trends You Should Be Aware Of

If the appearance doesn’t sully your appetite, there are options aplenty: ebony pizza crust, “burnt” sourdough, inky ice cream, sable-hued lattes, and more. Bartenders are even concocting detox-retox sips using activated charcoal. The Carbon Bar in Toronto has already refined their signature Black Mamba Margarita with charcoal-infused Avion tequila, St. Germain, Bowmore, lime and a sea-salt rim.

The newly opened iHalo Krunch, “Toronto’s first charcoal ice cream shop,” is swirling up dreamy combinations as well, complete with activated charcoal cones.


The only demographic against the trend is the notorious latte-slinging baristas. Activated charcoal leaves a gritty texture and aftertaste when mixed with milk and coffee, but for the most part, it’s a physical barrier (re: it looks awful).

Would you give these charcoal choices a chance? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: BondDLegion/BigStock; Food Network Canada

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