Black Food Items

The Black Food Festival in Berlin, Germany

The Black Food Festival in Berlin, Germany has a dark twist on food. Specifically, all the food items served in the food stalls have a common denominator. All the food is dark. And here is a fun fact: the colour is a result of using natural ingredients like coffee, squid ink and charcoal. Would you try it? You can try it.  At the Black Food Festival in Berlin was born out of curiosity about international cuisines. Additionally, the experimental nature of culinary minds across the globe. It to be held between 16th and 17th September 2022 and they are also coming to Atlanta namely as the Dark Food Festival on June 26th,2022.

Like many great things, starting from a simple idea in 2016. Mainly, the founder, Regina Boros, a food enthusiast and food blogger from Budapest, Hungary, wanted to create a space. Specifically, for culinary creatives to experiment with flavours and ingredients in a like-minded environment. After some planning and fine-tuning, the first Black Food Festival popped up in November 2018 in Budapest, to a huge success.

Moreover, due to popular demand, the Black Food Festival took to the road and began a global tour. Whereas, it’s visiting over 20 cities in a 24-month period, organising events and supporting franchise partners to realise Black Food events all over the world.

What is Black Food?

Black Food
Black Food/ Credit: AllRecipes

There is a lack of food that isn’t just black due to artificial colours, but the regular food undergoes a special change in black. Whereas some of the most sought-after ingredients are black. Mainly, the finest coffee, decadent dark chocolate, and luscious blackberries insert the luscious black. Moreover, ordinary food becomes special, such as the traditional balsamic vinegar. For centuries, the preparation is using traditional methods.

Specifically, foods with pigments called anthocyanins are known as black foods. Interestingly, anthocyanins are found in colourful foods, especially black, blue and purple. Most importantly, they have hidden nutrients and benefits galore. These pigments have rich anti-oxidant properties which promote health. And it has the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. They play a huge role in immunity. They are fun, healthy, offbeat and make for a nice visual treat too.

​The First Black Food Festival

A crowd at the Black Food Festival
A crowd at the Black Food Festival/ Credit: BlackFoodFest

​Significantly, the first festival debuted in Budapest (November 2018), and received great success. Moreover, the Berlin, Tel Aviv, Helsinki, New York, and Istanbul events followed. Specifically, the Black Food Festival organising team is welcoming any partners, sponsors and exhibitors fitting the black concept. 

Popular Items at the Black Food Festival

Black: Berries, Garlic, Sushi,Tea,Doughnuts,Macarons
Black: Berries, Garlic, Sushi, Tea, Doughnuts, Macarons/ Credit: Events for London

​So, all-black foods don’t often appear in nature, but some clever culinary trickery has transformed a load of your favourites into deliciously dark treats. Using the flavour bombs and the rich and luscious colours of black sesame, charcoal, and black garlic. At the Black Food Festival, you’ll find all kinds of exciting goth-looking foods, and even some of your favourite dishes that are as dark as your winter wardrobe. Activated charcoal is under a ban on foods and drinks, but there are plenty of other naturally-black ingredients to discover! Think black ice cream flavoured with black sesame, black coffee, boudin noir, black garlic, and black macaroons as examples.

The Black Food Festival was created to share these unique ingredients from across the world in a new light. To share the food items developed with innovative ideas and culinary trailblazers with everyone. The colour is slowly and inconspicuously painting the food industry, melting the opinions of food puritans, who previously swore by rainbow colours for their palates. Chefs around the world have walked the walk to bring a change in this attitude, by adding darker tinges to popular recipes.

 Let’s discover the black food items that you can taste at the Black Food Festival:

Black Ice-Cream

Black Ice-Cream in a black waffle cone
Black Ice-Cream in a black waffle cone/ Credit: Reddit

Black ice cream is not a new phenomenon, having made a similar surge in popularity last summer. It’s generally an ice cream made with activated charcoal. While some may recognize that ingredient for its detox abilities. While it is often seen in use in hospitals and emergency rooms. It’s not exactly the healthy food that some places market it to be. Others might be familiar with charcoal’s popularity in beauty products like face masks and toothpaste. Even though it looks intense, black ice cream’s flavour is fairly mild. On a good chance, if you’re nowhere near a spot that offers a gothic treat and want to get in on the fun, it’s definitely possible to make your own.

Food bloggers have an obsession with this goth version of a childhood classic. The ice cream depends on the black colour of the charred ashes of coconut shells. Instead of traditional food dyes (usually made from squid ink)—to provide such rich saturation. Essentially, this ice cream is made from charcoal. While some state that activated charcoal has detoxifying properties, there haven’t been many conclusive studies to prove it. That doesn’t mean coconut ash is without health benefits.

While it might not seem so at first glance, black ice cream is actually quite refreshing. The combination of coconut cream, coconut flakes and coconut milk makes for a light and creamy treat perfect for the summer heat. A warning, while it’s totally worth the picture op, charcoal will stain your tongue, teeth and tee-shirt—virtually anything it comes in contact with. Food-blog with caution, people!

Black Burger

Black Burger with tomatoes, black patty and lettuce
Black Burger with tomatoes, black patty and lettuce/ Credit : Pinterest

The Black Burger has taken the cheeseburger to a whole new level of weirdness. This is the black burger. It comes complete with black buns, black cheese, and black sauce. And no, this burger’s colour is not a mistake. It’s actually a way to elevate the boring burger by making it a black “premium” burger. The buns go through a baking process with bamboo charcoal (entirely edible) so that they look black. The beef patty had black pepper so that it looked dark. The cheese gets its colour from more bamboo charcoal so that it looks like a puddle of congealed engine oil. And the garlic sauce mixes with squid ink to create a dark sheen.

Its popularity points to its taste. But I think it was also a novelty. People like the unfamiliar. And the burger actually looks quite stunning: much better than most normal burgers. As some people eat with their eyes. These black hamburger buns are made of pretty much standard ingredients that you would use for baking. Prepare flour, yeast, some eggs, salt, and a bit of sugar, warm up the milk, and a slice of butter and you are ready to go.

While the taste is concerned, it’s sweet, dry, floury bread. Not that different from usual burgers. It’s mad how the colour black can make our minds think that it is automatically going to be vile. I would buy it as a laugh after a night out for a friend just to see their reaction or if they even notice at all!

Black Pasta

Squid Ink Pasta with tomato and spinach
Squid Ink Pasta with tomato and spinach/ Credit: PlatingandPairings

Black Pasta is pasta made from a pasta dough (typically from durum wheat semolina flour) that has ink from squid or cuttlefish mixed into it. The ink both colours and flavours the pasta. The squid ink is what gives the pasta it’s gorgeous black colour. It also gives it an amazing flavour. Squid ink pasta has a rich, briny flavour with a faint hint of sea saltiness, which makes it absolutely perfect for pairing with seafood. Whereas originally, Calamarata is a kind of thick ring pasta, often dyed with black squid ink. So that they resemble sliced calamari. It originates from Naples (Napoli) in the South of Italy. Interestingly, squid ink sauce is quite popular in Japan, where it is known as Ikasumi sauce (ika meaning squid, Sumi meaning ink).

While even black beans can lend a black hue to the popular pasta. For those seeking a more iron-rich addition to their diet, black bean pasta is the healthier alternative because it contains 30% of your body’s RDA for iron, compared to the 10% found in wheat durum pasta.

Black Pizza

Black Charcoal Pizza with vegetables, basil and cheese
Black Charcoal Pizza with vegetables, basil and cheese/ Credit: Lealou

To achieve the black hue in the dough of the pizza, there is an addition of food-grade vegetable charcoal in powder form to the dough by mixing it into eight grams per one kilogram of flour. Charcoal is a natural substance in use as a food colouring in cookies, bread and tiramisu. The activated charcoal pizza is a new food trend. The burnt-looking crust is actually made with activated charcoal, a health twist to your favourite junk food (sort of). While available in places like Japan, Indonesia, the U.K., and Canada for the last few years, black pizza has been slower to appear in America.

It is reputed to aid digestion, reduce gas and bloating, and absorb toxins in the body.” But buyer beware—charcoal pizzas may not be any more nutritious than the carb-loaded kind. This pizza dough is an adaptation from a Napolitana-style dough that rests overnight in the fridge. It’s incredibly soft and pliable, so you won’t need to roll it out. The activated charcoal gives it a dramatic black look, but you can totally leave it out if you prefer a regular blonde version.

Black Pancakes

Black Pancakes with raspberry syrup topped with blueberries and mulberries
Black Pancakes with raspberry syrup topped with blueberries and mulberries/ Credit: Pinterest

Think delicious black sesame paste stirred through fluffy pancake batter. Umm, yum! While even the addition of activated charcoal gives them a deep black colour that will wow any crowd. This ingredient is food-safe and gives an intensely black colour without affecting the flavour of the pancakes or staining your teeth. Come to the dark side with fun and creative black pancakes made with pumpkin spice for flavour and activated charcoal for colour.

Black Macarons

Black Macaroons filled with a dark chocolate ganache
Black Macaroons filled with a dark chocolate panache/ Credit: Chelsweets 

To get dark, vibrant colours,  it’s best to add a heaped tablespoon of gel paste colour to the sugar syrup before cooking it. Moreover, that way, it doesn’t affect the consistency of the macaroons as any additional liquid is cooked out. With the help of some black cocoa powder and a bar of decadent dark chocolate filling, these black macarons are perfect for just about any occasion.

Black Bonbons

Dark Chocolate Bonbons with caramel filling topped with sea salt
Dark Chocolate Bonbons with caramel filling topped with sea salt/ Credit:  Let’s Eat Cake

Bonbons can be filled with plain chocolate ganache and/or: liquid or chewy caramel; a boozy whole cherry; pistachio cream; raspberry purée; lemon curd; nougat; toffee; praline; and any combination or variation of these flavours.

Black Garlic

Black Garlic
Black Garlic/ Credit: WineMag

Black garlic is fresh raw garlic (Allium sativum) that changes with time through the use of low heat. Additionally, the humidity of about 70% in a process called the Maillard reaction. During this process, the cloves turn a distinct black colour. The garlic’s texture and flavour change as well.

Black garlic is raw garlic that people have fermented under controlled high-temperature, high-humidity conditions for several weeks. In addition to having black cloves, black garlic has a milder flavour and a more delicate, sticky consistency than raw garlic. Black garlic also offers a number of health benefits that may outweigh those of raw garlic, which hasn’t been aged. It contains more antioxidants, helps in regulating blood sugar, reduces the risk of heart disease, protects brain health and is possibly a cancer preventive.

Use the cloves as you would roasted garlic: Purée them with oil, then smear the paste on crostini, incorporate it into dressings, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting. Powdered, it’s like umami fairy dust: Sprinkle it on anything that wants some earthiness and depth. If black garlic has caught your fancy, then you can use it in your cooking. Specifically, crispy black garlic tastes delicious on roasted chicken. Moreover, black garlic can be used by mixing black garlic in with stews, casseroles, and even risotto to add a subtly sweet, umami flavour. You can use it in stir fry dishes. Add some to your own home stir fry or sprinkle a bit into a ramen dish.

Black Cake

Black Buttercream frosted cake
Black Buttercream frosted cake/ Credit: FeedFeed

Did you know that what truly makes it a black cake is the burnt sugar – known as “browning” – poured in seconds before the cake goes into the oven, giving the dessert its distinctive, rich dark colour? The historical origin of black cake, related to the British fruit cake, traces back to Indigenous and African people who were enslaved by English colonizers and forced to produce sugar. The recipe for this molasses-, rum-, and spice-filled cake likely made its way to New England, where Dickinson lived, during the slave trade.

Conclusion

This Black Food Festival inspires you to discover the lesser-known black foods from across the world, creatively experimenting with flavour and colour.

Think about it, the finest black coffee, decadent dark chocolates, lush blackberries, black garlic, and sweet and sour balsamic vinegar are just some of the more common black foods you are already familiar with. But have you ever tried black pizza, black ice cream, black pasta, or black cake?

Indulge in a new and unique culinary dimension and have a memorable sensory food experience.

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