Back to black: And the next superfood is… activated charcoal

How about activated charcoal in your cocktail? You can taste a slew of foods and drinks containing the trending ingredient at 50 Shades of Charcoal on July 22 in San Francisco.

Just when you thought London was getting edgier with a vegan festival in every available location, San Francisco to reclaim the front line.

What about a “Food” Festival dedicated to Activated Charcoal? One could also possibly ask “Why”?

In case you didn’t know, or care, activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, coal or olive stones and has been trending in holistic and home care circles the past few years as an effective detox for everything from clogged pores to hangovers.

Now it is being claimed by chefs and mixologists as a key ingredient and has been elevated to get its own celebration. 50 Shades of Charcoal, San Francisco’s first festival to celebrate activated charcoal food festival, is about to happen and where San Francisco goes others sometimes follow.

The food festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 22 at SoMa StrEat Food Park,  and will feature food trucks, chefs and pop-up vendors sharing their trendiest charcoal eats and drinks, like Choux SF’s black and white charcoal pastry puffs, Batter Up’s charcoal-battered corn dogs, WoKitchen’s charcoal barbecue pork buns and Sip ‘N Slurp’s braised octopus pasta with charcoal, garlic and white wine cream sauce.

There will be a lot of beverages, too, from fresh-squeezed charcoal lemonade to charcoal black Thai tea.

Activated charcoal easily dissolves in liquid, contributing that immediate, arresting effect of shadowy darkness — the ultimate antidote to the rainbow sugary unicorn drinks of our time.

Does activated charcoal taste like anything? Not really. At least not that we can tell. We’ve mostly consumed it in beverages, like tiki cocktails and iced espresso drinks, or as a blackening agent for fish and chicken, and we can’t detect any flavor.

SoMa StrEat Food Park is located at 428 11th Street in San Francisco. Tickets to 50 Shades of Charcoal are $5. The event is free for kids 10 and younger. Dogs are welcome.


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