2018 looks set to continue 2017's trend of detoxifying, with many restaurants upping the range of healthy dishes available on the menu. Activated charcoal food products have seen a rise in social media coverage, with black ice cream, black burger buns, black smoothies and even black cheese appearing on people's news feeds. Lockhart Catering explore...
Guest article: Lockhart Catering
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is far more appetising than it sounds - it consists of charred coconut shells, nuts and other natural and perfectly edible materials. Unsurprisingly, it predates its presence in our Instagram feeds.
In fact, this gothic food trend started making the rounds in 2014, when influential Italian chef Molini Spigadoro made his own blackened pizza crust, owing his decision to the health benefits of cooking with activated charcoal.
Molini’s blackened crusts proceeded a history of medicinal use, whereby charcoal has long been celebrated for its detoxifying prowess. Otherwise known as carbon or coconut ash, this substance is commonplace in hospitals where its potency is used (in very high concentrations!) to prevent poisons from being absorbed into the body. However, activated charcoal has begun to travel further afield into the food and hospitality industry, and has become a popular ingredient to add colour to everyday foods.
How do I incorporate it into my menu?
The challenge for top chefs is that, despite its wealth of health benefits and striking colour, charcoal isn’t the most flavoursome ingredient to add to your menu! According to New York ice cream chef Nicholas Morgenstern, the key is to add it ‘in small doses’ – which is all you need to add a deep black hue.
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