What is Edible Gold?
Gold is one of the most expensive and highly desired metals on the periodic table of elements. It’s also quite delicate and the most malleable metal in known existence. But should it be used for culinary purposes?
It’s really about personal preference.
I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be used as garnishment for food and neither do the multitude of scientists who have studied the safety of consuming this precious metal. The European Food Safety Administration approved gold as a food additive back in the seventies and while the US Food and Drug Administration hasn’t taken a stance, it’s merely due to lack of interest surrounding edible gold. That all may change in the near future as the culinary uses for gold are becoming more widespread—likely due to an uprise in “food porn” images across social sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and TasteSpotting.
Still, few health benefits have been associated with eating gold. It’s actually considered to be biologically inert. “What does that mean?” you ask. Well, edible gold passes through the digestive system without actually being absorbed. It’s also essentially a tasteless substance.
So why use edible gold in your culinary creations? Because it’s gorgeous, of course!
I strongly believe that food needs to be so much more than simple nutrition. Dining is a form of entertainment, like going to an art museum. If it’s simple nutrition you want, drink a green smoothie, but if you want to create something spectacular—something Instagram worthy—create a culinary work of art. Adorn your dishes with the same metal that donned the tombs of Pharaohs.
Like Gustav Klimpt did with the gold in his paintings that hang in art museums today, when you use gold to adorn your (edible) art, you should produce eye-catching and original works. But, it never hurts to have a little inspiration. So I’ve compiled a list of uses for edible gold.
- Replace nori with gold leaf in makizushi (sushi roll), temaki (hand roll), or okonomyaki (savory Japanese pancake). Or, use it alongside seaweed in a squid salad.
- Use gold flakes as a garnish in place of chopped parsley or chives.
- Dip fruit or shortbread in dark chocolate and fleck with edible gold.
- Swirl edible gold flakes in your bubbly.
- Make unique edible gold cutouts and freeze them in ice cubes to add to your cocktails.
- Wrap baked brie in edible gold leaf for a holiday party.
- Make a warm beet salad and garnish with edible gold flakes. The contrast of the deep maroon of the beets and shiny gold is spectacular!
- Embellish cakes and pastries with edible gold—especially for 50th wedding anniversaries, when gold is a traditional gift.
- Don a frothy beverage such as a cappuccino or a Pisco sour with delicate gold flakes.
- Cut thin, rectangular strips of edible gold to wrap around these Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles like individual presents.
Whatever you plan to create with your edible gold, keep in mind the other colors being used in the dish. The gold will give it an elegant flash but does not make a dish shine on its own.
The uses for edible gold are endless. What do you plan on doing with yours?