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Black Garlic. The Hot New Color in Food.

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

Looking for the hottest, hippest new food ingredient? Something that will impress your friends at your next dinner party?

Try black garlic.

PHOTO: Julia Ewan, Washington Post

As reported by Bonnie S. Benwick in the Washington Post, black garlic has gone from nonexistence to obscurity to trendy top-chef ingredient in a relatively short time.

Inventor Scott Kim of South Korea began experimenting with it in 2004. He wanted to market fermented or black garlic as a super food; his month-long heat-curing process creates a high concentration of disease-fighting antioxidants.

Kim founded Black Garlic Inc. in 2008, and the company is the only producer and supplier in the U.S. The garlic is grown on Jeju Island in South Korea, but he has plans to process California-grown black garlic in the near future.

The garlic is said to taste slightly sweet, with a bit of a licorice flavor and a chewy texture. Its garlic flavor and texture are more subtle than traditional garlic.

Bruce Hill, executive chef and part owner of Bix restaurant in San Francisco is believed to be the first American restaurant to feature black garlic. Other chefs followed in fairly short order and soon it found its way to Le Bernardin in New York, and to Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, where he called it one of his top five food finds.

The new ‘It’ ingredient was highlighted on a recent episode of ‘Top Chef: New York’ on the Bravo network. And now the food blogs are all a-twitter about black garlic.

More information is available at Mr. Kim’s website.

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