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The dark side of food!

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

A few days lazying by the pool and soaking up some of that beautiful Mediterranean sunshine I thought I would write this week while munching peaches fresh off the tree! I think I was in heaven as the children played in the pool, I sat about reading and oh yes when I needed something sweet, leant from my sun-lounger for a peach from the tree… Oh my goodness it gets no better than that!

I did want to write about a few changes I saw as I visited a few new places along the coast in the South of France.  Firstly most meals were simple yet as I remember from childhood visits to France – just perfect. Melon and ham, huge tomato salads picked a few minutes before cutting them up with leafy green fresh basil and cheese, goats cheese salads. Suppers we enjoyed stuffed courgettes with mincemeat, onion, tomato and cheese lots of vegetables from the garden and being by the sea there were plenty of fish dishes, my favourite ‘moules et frites’.  However, visiting Nice and Marseille I came to realise the sudden increase in black food.  Yes, the latest food trend is ‘Goth Gourmet’. I did wonder past an Italian restaurant and wonder why the food actually looked burnt – no no, it was a charcoal pizza!

Last week my blog was about why food tastes so much better in the sunshine well one of the main reasons why black food is so popular right now is that there has been a lot of research into the influence vision has on flavour and a recurrent finding is that what we see can affect how we imagine food will taste.  In terms of black food, the taste may be perceived as being more powerful, thanks to the influence of the intensity of this colour.

Last year, charcoal pizza dough took restaurants by storm. I can only report on London but this seems to have happened across Europe as Italian charcoal pizzas are just as popular. This summer Waitrose supermarket have introduced their own take on this trendy recipe. The Charcoal Pizza – boxed and ready to pop in the oven for that smoky quality which adds to the flavour and charcoal being the ‘magic ingredient’ helps prevent the post pizza bloat!

Back to France and the Marseille ice-cream shop Glacier Vanilla Noire is keeping the secret of their black vanilla ice cream its colour and surprisingly salty flavour under wraps! It is so strange to see a black ice cream!

Reading another article there is a Croatian eatery La Famiglia in Zadar that uses squid ink to turn their burger buns black. I did enjoy black paella and black pasta in Spain last year, again made with squid ink, didn’t realise it was so fashionable!

I understand in London, on the Portobello Road there is a coffee shop which differs from all the rest. The Farm Girl Cafe which I am hoping to visit in the next few weeks to try their unique Charcoal Latte. Being a massive Latte fan, I understand this drink is far more delicious than it sounds, thanks to the date syrup and cashew milk the charcoal is blended into a frothy coffee, perfect for your digestive system.

“Consuming activated charcoal is an amazing way to absorb toxins within your body, slow the ageing process and purify your skin” says Farm Girl Cafe’s Tayla Porter. Though be warned: “its best to have drinks like this after a meal, as drinking charcoal beforehand prevents your body from absorbing antioxidants and other nutritional benefits from food.”

However just as the sun goes down I didn’t realise there was a DARK SIDE TO FOOD… and I have only just discovered it! Makes the whole expression ‘naughty but nice’ slightly redundant, happy weekend!

For some delicious more recipes with charcoal check out this link.

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