Food preparation has always been an art, and chefs have used unusual ingredients or mix different tastes to create fabulous recipes for centuries. As you have probably known, they put a lot of time, energy, and attention into food serving. I believe none of the various food ingredients surprise you as much as added gold.
It is hard to imagine putting metal in lunch, but gold is a unique and uncommon thing. Nowadays, you can find gold in hot meals, grilled sandwiches, desserts, and even drinks. The question is, what does gold tastes like, so let’s find that out.
Gold Properties and Uses
Gold is one of the most respected precious metals. It is available on all continents, usually in relatively pure form. People have exploited it for centuries, and its usage varied throughout history, thanks to its desirable properties:
- This precious metal has bright, attractive color
- It is very soft and workable
- Mixing with other metals improves its strength
- It conducts heat and electricity very well
- It never tarnishes or rusts over time
In most cases, people used gold to make decorations, pots, money, and jewelry. Plus, this precious metal was an unavoidable material in dentistry and has been used for aesthetic reasons for centuries.
Nowadays, it plays a significant role in the electronic and aerospace industry, medicine, and even cosmetics, thanks to its outstanding properties. However, its specific role in the food industry is particularly fascinating.
Gold Garnish History
The habit of putting gold in food and drink goes all back to Ancient Egyptians. Since they considered gold divine, it was widely present as food decoration or elixirs. Believe it or not, they created food and drinks with gold because believing this precious metal had magnificent healing properties and could keep the youth.
Eastern and European civilizations used gold for medical purposes mainly, mostly to cure sore limbs. However, gold garnishing was very famous on courts since royals wanted to show their wealth to the guests and vassals.
Edible Gold Features
Edible gold is a particular gold type used in fancy restaurants as a food and beverage additive. The chefs improvise a lot with this precious metal and add it to various dishes to get a note of extravagance.
Edible gold is always 22K and 24K pure. You should know that it is not the only metal used in cooking, but it is definitely the most precious of all.
Like all edible precious metals, gold doesn’t have any taste. It has a slight texture and feels very light on the tongue. You neither choke while eating it nor can it affect the taste of your meal in any way. Actually, gold won’t add anything else to food but a sparkling appearance.
Edible gold comes in different forms, but the most popular are thin sheets. You can wrap food in it or rip it to make various shapes. Apart from the sheets, it also comes as:
- Powder – It is very fine, dusty gold, usually sprinkled on the top to give your meal a dazzling look.
- Flakes – They are slightly larger than powder form and different in shape. You can see them sprinkled on the drink top or floating inside a glass.
- Petals – They are bigger and more attractive compared to the flakes.
- Various shapes – You can shape gold in any way you want since it is very malleable for manipulating.
Even though it is a metal, edible gold is entirely safe to eat. While consuming, it will only pass through your body without absorption or adverse effects.
- Benefits – Some study results show that consuming gold treats headache, migraine, depression, epilepsy, and rheumatoid arthritis. Even people with allergies can eat this precious metal since pure gold never causes adverse reactions.
- Possible problems – Gold is safe to chew and insoluble in saliva no matter the form you consume it. It also won’t harm your digestive system, and stomach ache is possible only if you eat too much metal.
- Chemical reactions – Gold won’t trigger any undesired chemical reaction in the body since it is inert.
- Reaction to liquid – Moist and liquids are not a problem while consuming gold since it never rusts.
- Calories – Edible gold is gluten-free and doesn’t contain any fats or calories but also has no nutritional value.
- Expiration date – Once you buy edible gold, you can use it indefinitely.
Food containing edible gold
Edible gold was available only for wealthy people and fine dining in the past. Nowadays, you can find it in classy restaurants, bars, pastry shops, and even fast-food outlets.
In most cases, this precious metal is a dessert decoration, but chefs also apply it to snacks, burgers, and other salty food. For instance, Japanese chefs sprinkle oysters with gold powder or add it to sushi and ramen.
Another frequent use includes adding the gold powder to cocktails. Some alcoholic drinks, like white wine or champagne, get a glittery look thanks to gold flakes in the bottles. Tea and coffee sprinkled with 24K gold are standard offers in luxurious hotel menus.
Edible gold is highly delicate, so it takes some tools and skills to add it over food. For instance, the sheets wrinkle and tear easily. Since they are very thin and light, you also need to be careful not to blow them away. They are likely to stick to skin, so it is wise to use gloves while handling a gold sheet.
Tweezers are very handy when adding petals or shapes. After separating such gold from a container, you can place it on the food without damaging its shape.
Powder and flakes are the easiest to add. You can sprinkle them over food or use a teaspoon to add some gold to your drink. It is also possible to find gold powder in a spray, so you can spray it directly on food without touching it.
Reasons for gold adding
The primary reason for adding gold to food and drinks is the effect it has on customers. This precious metal provides a sense of glamour and prestige like no other ingredient or a garnish. In addition, it is tasteless, odorless, and non-toxic so that it won’t affect your meal in any way.
The other reason why chefs decide to use gold is profit. Gold is expensive, so it increases the dish price. Plus, such a meal is memorable and prestigious in any way possible.
Edible Gold Production
Edible gold production is quite a complex process. As you have probably known, gold naturally comes in the form of a nugget. Therefore, manufacturers need to melt them and turn them into powder, sheets, or shapes by using advanced technologies and craftsmanship skills.
Then, they pack it in specially designed packages, depending on the final product type. You can find it in jars, booklets, or plastic bags. Since shapes and sheets are very delicate to handle, it is necessary to pack them between two flat surfaces. All edible gold requires cool and dry storage space.
Several edible gold manufacturers regularly supply supermarket chains, cake makers, distillers, and hotels worldwide. Since the trend of using gold is fast-growing, small local manufacturers also appear now and then.
In any case, manufacturers need to meet the particular standard for food safety and provide a product made of 22K or 24K gold.
Food and beverages decorated with pure gold are relatively expensive. The price depends on the used gold amount and decorating techniques. Keep in mind that brand restaurants and bars sell more costly meals and drinks.
Inexpensive versions mean that gold contains some other metals that improve its strength and change the color. This technique is excellent for decorating, but some alloys can cause allergic reactions. Be careful!
You can find edible gold in most well-supplied supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants. Some small craft shops often sell gold for individual use. You can also purchase it on websites and Amazon for a reasonable cost.
However, you should be very careful since gold from untrusted sources may contain impurities.
The major edible gold buyers are still luxurious hotels and restaurants since they want to provide food with an incredible effect and attract more customers.
Smaller buyers are typically specialized cake makers who make stunning pastries for special events like weddings. Individual buyers are still rare.
Since gold has no nutritional value and won’t improve your meal taste in any possible way, it will actually end up as costly precious metal waste. It is always more beneficial to your health and less expensive to consume more nutritious food.
On the other hand, magical gold decorations look so stylish, making you feel rich and remarkable while looking at them served on your plate. It is always a luxurious and unrepeatable experience, and consuming such a meal is a pure pleasure.
There is no better decoration that will instantly transform your food and beverage from simple and boring to one seen on a magazine cover. Even though gold is tasteless, eating something rare and eccentric overtops all flavors. I am sure that you will remember the unique experience of tasting this precious metal forever.