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We tried Bottega's charcoal 'detox' pizza... and it's good

Detox like an Italian by eating pizza? If you say so...

We're no strangers to bizarre food trends, from pink-coloured burger buns to black-sesame- and pudding-flavoured ice creams, Beijing is full of unconventional fare. But here's something we bet you haven't tried – unless you frequent the shore of Naples on the west coast of southern Italy.

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Napoli – take us... please (Photo: shuttterstock.com)

Apparently, a trend sweeping through the Mediterranean city's swankiest pizzerias is leaving all sorts of dough black – but not in the way you might expect.

Thankfully it's not overcooking – burning the living daylights out of our beloved pizzas has yet to come a 'thing'. Nor is it the addition of common flavour-enhancer squid ink that Italians are oh-so-fond of for an added boost of saltiness.

No, these pizzas and calzones are turning black thanks to the addition of – wait for it – specially prepared active charcoal.

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Not just for grilling, this black stuff is apparently super good for ya? (Photo: shuttterstock.com)

Not to be confused with the briquets they use to roast up chuan'r, the stuff they feed teenage renegades who end up in hospital with a belly full of baijiu, or the pills that the health-obsessed toss back to improve, um, regularity.

This fine black powder is straight from Naples, called carboni vegetali in Italian – you guessed it, vegetable carbon. And, it's meant for eating, so you don't need to worry about any funky flavours or textures in the dough.

We tried it at Bottega, where the chewy and fragrant dough is one of our all-time favourites.

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Black, grey, purple, whatever, still looks pretty damn good to us.

The idea is to give your system a little boost, a helping hand if you will, to pump out all those nasty bits that you take in throughout the day – whether they be unavoidable (Beijing's slightly less-than-perfect air, not that we can complain this past week) or the intentional (that extra martini that you might have really wanted, but definitely didn't need).

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We tucked into this bad boy last night – feeling like a million bucks today...

Although we can't speak to how effective the 'detoxing' properties of a charcoal-laden pizza or calzone actually are, if it's good enough for the carb-loving waistline-magicians of coastal Italy, it's good enough for us.

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Italian sausage, fresh grilled veggies, sans tomato sauce – grilled veg and sauce is a big no-no in Napoli

The charcoal 'detox' dough will soon become a full-time menu option for pizzas and calzone at Bottega, but for now call ahead and request a special batch with your reservation – the kitchen is only mixing up a limited quantity per day.

You can expect a nominal surcharge of around 10-20RMB per order, but far be it for us to put a price on good health.
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