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Orlando's fascination with pitch-black foods

Heart of darkness

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What is it about inky-black foods that fascinates us so? Is it a frisson at forbidden fruit, or an atavistic fear of the dark? Maybe it’s just the rarity of naturally occurring black edibles that makes us wary yet intrigued.

In the first century A.D., the Roman emperor Domitian hosted an all-black feast in an all-black room, with each guest’s place setting marked by their name engraved on a tiny tombstone. J.K. Huysmans’ classic narrative of decadence, À Rebours, featured a less-frightening but equally melodramatic scene of an all-black feast: “Russian black bread, ripe olives from Turkey, caviar, mulberries, coffee, porter and stout.” Here are three locals serving pitch-black edibles in more casual surroundings.

Squid-ink fettuccine, Trevi Pasta
The black version of Trevi's soft, toothsome fresh-rolled pasta has a faint briny aroma from the cetacean ink. You can choose your cut, but we like ribbons of fettuccine, topped with Trevi's funghi bianca: a light, creamy white sauce seasoned with white wine and lightly studded with chopped mushrooms. 2120 Edgewater Drive, 407-985-2577, trevipasta.com

Black ash coconut ice cream and black ash cone, the Greenery Creamery
It may look alarming, this most heavy-metal of desserts, and it will for sure turn your teeth and tongue zombie-gray. But the flavor is as mild and sweet as you'd expect from any pale-hued coconut ice cream or waffle cone. 420 E .Church St., 407-286-1084, thegreenerycreamery.com

Morcilla, Oh Que Bueno
If you're not acquainted with blood sausage, aka morcilla – aka blood pudding in the U.K. – give the pitch-black delight a taste before you inquire into the ingredients. This may be one case where, truly, you don't want to know how the sausage gets made. 1125 S. Semoran Blvd., 407-447-5026, ohquebueno.com

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