Edible gold is a feast for the eyes and a tradition of kings.
24 karat gold. Its brilliance touches something deep in our minds. But did you know it can enrich us as an edible ingredient, too?
A safe, inert substance, edible gold may or may not have medicinal properties the way alchemists believed, but no one can deny that the precious metal transforms a dish into a delectable surprise guests will never forget. Edible gold is nothing more than gold foil or sprinkles of 22 karat purity or higher. It has no taste or smell and dissolves instantly on the tongue since the purer gold is, the softer it is. The Italian Food and Drug Administration approved edible gold for use in European cuisine and for importation to North America.
Modern purveyors say hosts have used it for centuries to augment a party atmosphere. Elizabethans covered fruit and sweets in gold leaf during their feasts and the Japanese sprinkled it into sake. In the sixteenth century, nobility dined on dishes like saffron and gold leaf risotto so often that the officials of Italy’s northern city, Padua, recommended no more than two courses in gold per feast.
Today, look for the glittery stuff on the rims of cocktail glasses and as garnish on desserts and hors d’oeuvres. More creative chefs are applying it to savory dishes or wrapping portions whole. The common sprig of mint has been minted, you could say—traded up for a trimming with more mettle.
A welcome addition to any gold nosher’s portfolio is The Urban Tea Merchant’s Gold Yin Zhen Tea from the luxury tea brand TWG. A white variety from Fujian, China (known as Silver Needles because of its new-growth fuzz) is blended with generous amounts of 24 karat gold flakes. The steep tastes subtly grassy with honeyed overtones. The price to count yourself in the company of kings? $2,228 per 100 grams of loose leaf tea.
Chocolate mousse: Photo courtesy of EdibleGold.com / Image courtesy of The Urban Tea Merchant