A Black Mouthful. Please?


It’s Christmas Eve, and though I’ve surely not been so bad as to deserve coal from Santa this year, I might actually like to find something black inside of my stocking tomorrow morning.

Although it’s been a health trend in Japan for about a decade now, black foods have slowly been entering the international consciousness and I was surprised to even see CNN cover the topic a couple of months ago. According to them, black foods have:

-been a part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years
-are marketed for their supposed enhanced nutritional value
-include foods like black soybeans, black vinegar and black rice which are highly prized

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Indeed, the black foods market in Japan alone is reported to be over $500 million, with black soybeans and vinegar standing at the top of the profitable products list.

I’ve already tried both, but what I’m interested in now is black garlic. This mysterious-looking fermented version of our favourite cooking herb is something I’d really like to try., a website dedicated to the unusual cooking ingredient, makes the product seem all the more tantalizing when it describes its taste as ‘sweet meets savoury, a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones.’ Black garlic is slowly spreading through international culinary circles (earlier this year the Washington Post called it the next ‘it’ ingredient) and although it’s still mostly used in Asia, particularly Japan, Korea and Thailand, you may find it being served at a restaurant near you soon. I wonder how informed elves are in food fermentation.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Diplomat Brief