We’ve seen plenty of social-media buzz about ‘rainbow food’, but now there’s a new trend in town – and it’s a far cry from the pastel-coloured, glittery cakes of Instagram’s daydreams. It’s time to cross over to the dark side to explore Gothic food, with everything from ice cream to burger buns being drenched in moody black.
One of the pioneers of the Gothic food trend is Nick Morgenstern of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice-Cream in New York. Manhattanites flock to this ice-cream hot spot for the latest flavour; this season it’s a delicious, dark blend of coconut flakes, coconut cream, coconut milk and – the key ingredient – pigmented ash. Evoking nostalgia for the carefree days of our youth, when lollipops would leave our tongues brightly coloured, the Gothic food trend taps into our longing for childhood whimsy and curiosity – only now our mouths are stained pitch black instead of orange or pink.
Big brands like KFC in Australia are jumping on the bandwagon too, with a limited-edition Zinger burger on a black bun made with vegetable carbon – which, by the way, is completely safe for consumption and is used in other foods such as liquorices, jellies and jams.
If you’re thinking of experimenting with black foods at home, the most popular way to get this look currently (other than using squid ink, pigmented ash or vegetable carbon) is by adding activated charcoal. Be careful with this one though: while activated charcoal is said to have properties that improve skin appearance and increase digestive wellness, too much of it can have serious health-related drawbacks.
While the Gothic food trend doesn’t quite call to mind a Michelin-starred restaurant – although we won’t be surprised to see it being translated into fine-dining options soon – it’s certainly a lot of fun, and can turn something as simple as a scoop of ice cream into a unique experience.