In a land of Instagram-ready rainbow unicorn eats, it looks like some food fans are going in a different direction. You may have seen goth ice cream with its pitch-black cone and gray swirls, but get ready to have the trend invade more than just dessert. Olivella restaurant in North Bergen, NJ, is introducing charcoal-infused pizza, pasta, and mozzarella, giving the Italian standbys a major dose of inky black mystique.
Salvatore Olivella, the Naples-born pizza master at Olivella, says that the recipes he's introducing at the restaurant took over six months to develop. He adds that he saw pizza makers in Italy adding charcoal to their doughs and decided to take it a step further by adding the ingredient du jour to pasta and mozzarella cheese, too. For pizza and pasta, the charcoal is added in with the other ingredients and is activated via cooking, but for the mozzarella, Olivella adds it early in the process so that it activates before the cheese is formed.
Why is charcoal even being considered as a culinary add-in? In a statement, Olivella says that the special ingredient can "aid digestion, reduce gas and bloating, and absorb toxins in the body." According to a University of Michigan study, activated charcoal can even lower cholesterol levels. Olivella explains that heat is all it takes to activate the charcoal, so whether it gets baked, boiled, or broiled, diners can enjoy the benefits no matter which entree or appetizer they opt for.
Adventurous diners will be able to get charcoal in pizzas and pasta dishes at Olivella as well as a special Caprese salad. While most people may be familiar with the red, white, and green salad, which recalls the Italian flag, Olivella's charcoal version comes with red, via the tomatoes; green, from the basil leaves; and a rich gray, instead of white, because of the charcoal mozzarella cheese.
Check out a few of Olivella's featured charcoal dishes, which are just as photo-ready as any Technicolor snack, and prepare to have your social media feeds go goth.
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