Edible gold leaf is a product used to decorate food. It’s available in the form of sheets and flakes, and its main goal is to be decorative and add a bit of glamour to the food and drinks served. For the most part, flakes are used to decorate desserts and some cocktails, but there are other culinary uses as well.
The gold flakes and sheets themselves are relatively inexpensive since gold is sold based on its weight, and these weigh very little, but the food decorate with gold is amongst the most expensive in the world.
How are they used?
The gold flakes are used to add a glamourous touch to the dish. They don’t add much in other culinary sense, but that’s not why they are bought in the first place. Those flakes will add a gold glimmer to the top of the dish or cocktail in which they are used.
The gold usually comes in the form of loose leaf from which the flakes are made. They are small and used to cover candies and truffles. Another option is to use so-called transfer leaves, which are larger and used to cover a larger surface (such as the whole cake).
Cooking and cuisine
The flakes were first used to decorate desserts and only in the most luxurious restaurants. Over time as the culture around high-end dining has changed, so has the use of flakes. For instance, gold decorations have found their way to some fast foods as well.
In 2018 Popeye’s offered gold flaked covered chicken wings (they were also battered in Champaign). The marketing stunt was used to celebrate the opening of the 3000th Popeye’s store.
Edible gold is tricky to use in cooking due to its qualities and how easy it breaks. They can also tear and wrinkle when heat is applied to them. All of this means that only expert chefs with experience in the field can really use gold to cook and decorate their meals.
Golden flakes will also stick to the skin when cooked with so some measures need to be taken in order to make the best of it. These include using: a dry brush, a razor blade, and cotton gloves while cooking. Many cooks also use tweezers to add flakes to the food at the end of the process.
What does gold taste like?
Gold flakes don’t have any taste at all. Their purpose in cooking is only to decorate the dish and to make it appear more luxurious and rare. They don’t add to the taste or other qualities, which means that they can be mixed with any kind of recipe without changing it.
They are also a bit colder than the rest of the dish, and that’s something that may be noticed in the taste and feel of the dish overall. That can also affect how the desert is served because sometimes gold flakes are added at the end, and sometimes it takes a while for them to match the temperature of the meal.
There are quite a few rules as to how to store gold flakes due to their size, weight, and other qualities. The flakes can be stored indefinitely since there’s no time frame in which gold will lose any of its qualities.
However, since they are rather delicate, it’s best if the flakes are stored in airtight containers, in a cool and dry place. Both warmth and damp conditions can damage the flakes, so it’s best to avoid them. There’s also an issue of keeping the gold sheets and flakes secure in the process.
Nutrition and benefits
There are no benefits coming from eating gold flakes. For the most part, gold can’t be digested, so there’s no way for it to influence the person eating it in a way that either harmful or beneficial. This is the case with pure gold. If the gold isn’t pure, meaning that it contains other metals or alloys, it can be harmful, but the harm will come from other metals rather than the gold itself.
This implies that the gold needs to be what’s known as 22Kor 24K gold. That means that out of 24 parts of gold, 22 or all of them are made from gold itself – so that it’s as pure as it can be.
There are no calories or fat in gold.
Where to buy gold leaves and flakes?
Gold flakes are a commodity that has been on the market for a while now and it’s used in a variety of different high-end restaurants and bars. It’s not difficult to buy them and to find a relatively competitive price for them. Most restaurants buy online and with the help of dedicated special suppliers that work in this field in particular.
There are also art supply stores that sell them since golden flakes are also used for a variety of art projects.
It’s important to note that the purity and quality of edible gold flakes need to be much higher than it is for the purpose of making jewelry. Only 24K and 22K gold can be used in food and there are jewelry makes that use only 8K gold. There isn’t many of them, but it can be found.
The square sheets can range in size from 1 1/2 inches to 5 1/2 inches and they’re also sold in booklets of ten to one hundred pages.
There are a few manufacturers that produce gold leaves and flakes for this purpose in particular. They cater to restaurants and sometimes fashion companies that require gold of similar purity and size. Giusto Manetti Battiloro is an Italian manufacturer mostly known for providing this service to restaurants and chefs.
Connoisseur Gold is a British manufacturer that services the same market, and they offer their products to high-end restaurants, pudding manufacturers, supermarket changes, and many others that have a need for it.
Horikin LTD is the biggest edible gold manufacturer in Japan, where the leaves are used in teas, which has a long tradition in Japanese cuisine, but also in desserts as they are in the west.
Restaurants that serve gold flakes could be found anywhere in the world.
A recipe using gold flakes
- 12 ounces of chopped white chocolate
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- 2 ounces of butter that is softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup of Champagne
- one pound of white chocolate candy coating
- an edible gold leaf
Step by Step
- Gather the ingredients.
- You should use a medium heat-safe bowl to fill with ingredients, put the chopped white chocolate inside. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Pour the 1/4 of a cup of heavy cream into a small saucepan and boil over medium heat.
- Once it started boiling, don’t wait for a second to pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.
- After letting the cream soften the chocolate for 1 minute, whisk everything until the chocolate is melted. The blend is supposed to be very thick.
- Incorporate the champagne into the white chocolate mixture by whisking it.
- Add the butter, and whisk until smooth.
- Afterward, put one piece of plastic wrap on top of the white chocolate, and keep it in the refrigerator all until it is firm enough to scoop.
- After it gets firm, use a candy scoop or a teaspoon to shape small balls. Put the hands into the powdered sugar, and try to shape those small balls between your hands to become perfectly round.
- Melt the white chocolate candy coating.
- Once it is completely smooth, use a fork to dip each truffle in the white chocolate mixture before placing them on the lined baking sheet.
- Add a small amount using a brush or tweezers to each truffle after dipping while the chocolate is still tacky.
You have an option to make a champagne reduction to use within the truffles instead if you love a stronger champagne flavor. Gently heat one half of a cup of champagne in a saucepan until it starts boiling gently.
Leave it to simmer until it is half its size, which is about ten minutes. Once you have a fourth of a cup of champagne, leave it to cool to room temperature and afterward add it to the white chocolate blend as implied within the recipe.
Gold flakes are a gold product that’s mostly used to decorate some dishes and drinks. It’s considered to be one of the most luxurious and rare addition to meals and that’s reflected in their price. The flakes themselves don’t add too much flavor or nutritional value to meal, but only as a status symbol.
It’s important that only the purest gold is used for this purpose and that gold is stored in accordance with the strict rules. There’s an established market for gold flakes and companies all around the world are providing it.