You might not be familiar with the term “trompe l’oeil,” but it generally describes art that “plays with the eye” in some form or another, usually as a two-dimensional painting that looks three-dimensional. But the phrase also has a culinary use: for food that looks like one thing, but is in fact something completely different.
The element of surprise is one of the most exciting aspects of eating, but it’s also one that most cooks tend to leave off of the plate. When you bite into something that looks like one thing but tastes like another, the cognitive dissonance can be a little surprising, a little unsettling, and a whole lot of fun.
In honor of April Fools’ Day, we’ve tracked down 10 of the most legendary trompe l’oeil foods that have ever been devised. Some are so simple that even little kids can make them; some are so complex that they push the boundaries of what’s possible to create through molecular gastronomy. But they all have one thing in common: They aren’t what they appear.