There’s a new foodie trend on the rise that’s so odd, you probably won’t be able to find it at the best pizzeria in your state. Behold: the charcoal pizza, a dark-crusted, low-carb, guilt-free twist to everyone’s favorite comfort food. And yes, the crust is actually infused with charcoal.
We can thank the Italians for Instagram’s latest craze. Naples native Salvatore Olivella just launched his original recipe for the pie at his New Jersey pizza joint, Olivella Restaurant. He first caught a whiff of the trend back in Italy, but it’s now spread to places like Japan, Indonesia, the UK, and Canada.
Want to try it right in your own backyard? Restaurants in Florida and California are also serving this delicious dish. And if you’re willing to branch out, Olivella offers pasta and mozzarella cheese made with the same unconventional ingredient.
According to Olivella, not only is charcoal safe (and yummy!) to eat, but it offers impressive health perks, as well.
“Activated charcoal has been used to treat poisonings for years, but only recently has it been added to food, drinks, and cosmetics,” Olivella told Well+Good. “It is reputed to aid digestion, reduce gas and bloating, and absorb toxins in the body.”
But buyer beware—charcoal pizzas may not be any more nutritious than the carb-loaded kind, says Kelly Hogan, RD, CDN, clinical nutrition and wellness manager at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. While it’s true that charcoal can prevent poisons from being absorbed in the body, it can also inhibit important nutrients from being absorbed, too. Charcoal can also cause diarrhea and GI distress, according to Hogan. (For those on a health kick, you might want to try these healthy pizza crust recipes, instead.)
Nutritional doubts aside, if you’re looking to satisfy your pizza craving (and get a good photo op in the process), be sure to make the charcoal pizza your next Instagram destination.