Knowing that one can actually eat gold often leaves many people bewildered and astonished. As a consequence, this use rightly raises many questions.
Accustomed to seeing gold as a decorative element or in a bank vault, finding it used in something as mundane as a hamburger or a cake decoration can certainly lead to both doubts and curiosity.
Therefore, as this raises many, rather general questions, we decided to write this article to provide some answers as well as to retrace edible gold’s rich and fascinating history.
Edible gold has frequently been used over the centuries—indeed, much more often than one might think.
From the ancient Egyptians to medieval courts, with much experimentation in 15th-century Europe, its use in food and drink has been fairly widespread and not exactly uncommon.
In the article “The history of edible gold” we look at some of key events.
Even today, gold is used in many fields, like make-up, or in sugar-almonds or as tooth-fillings. While these are certainly the best known applications, they hardly suggest that gold can be eaten.
So, let’s get down to business and start answering the most common questions.
Let’s start with the price—one of the most common questions about this product.
While gold is unquestionably one of the most precious metals, a packet of edible gold leaf sheets costs the same as a packet of saffron.
It is, therefore, an easy-to-find, relatively inexpensive product that is also available to a wider audience.
From a legislative point of view, the European Union considers edible gold a food additive and, specifically, a food coloring.
To be classified as usable in the food sector, the product must have a minimum gold content of 90% (corresponding to gold with a purity of at least 21.6 carats), a silver content of not more than 7%, and a copper content that does not exceed 4%.
For example, Manetti edible gold is a 23-kt gold made exclusively of gold and silver, and therefore very pure.
The thicknesses produced are generally extremely thin and thus imperceptible to the palate. Considered “biologically inert”, it does neither interacts with, nor is absorbed by the human body.
In addition to the previously mentioned composition and minimum purity requirements, another difference compared to the gold used regularly for decoration and restoration lies in the production process and, above all, in the measures taken to ensure it is safe for human consumption.
Of primary importance is making sure that the gold being used is pure and clearly labeled as edible or to be used for food purposes.
Even if advantages and benefits have been traditionally attributed to gold throughout history, our product has neither benefits, nor side effects.
It does not, unfortunately.
To remedy this “problem”, Giusto Manetti Battiloro re-launched, in 2015, a new line of flavored edible gold called “GOLDCHEF – The Taste of Gold”.
In addition to being beautiful, this product was also flavored. Thus, it could be used as both an ingredient as well as decoration.
During production, the gold is made very thin, with the thickness measured in microns. As a result, a truly minimal amount of the metal is used to make our products.
The production follows a series of stages similar to that used for regular gold. However, to guarantee the product’s hygiene, edible gold is produced separately from other types of gold using its own tools and machines.
We can learn and see more in detail about the production stages of edible gold in the following Gourmet Life video, which follows its production at the Giusto Manetti Battiloro plant.
It truly has many uses, certainly more than can be listed in this article.
Edible gold is used daily by the world’s best creative minds for the most original and unique applications.
When properly used, this very versatile material gives that extra touch to any dish.
In particular, it is used extensively in cake decorations, especially wedding cakes, confectionary works of art that require much effort at both the planning and design levels.
We have also seen it used on smaller desserts, pastries, and cupcakes in addition to donuts, ice cream, chocolate, and more creatively in alcoholic beverages, like cocktails and champagne.
Gold is also much used in gourmet or slightly more sophisticated cuisine, especially to decorate first and second courses in addition to recipes created specifically to take advantage of its shiny, decorative effects.
And how can we not talk about pizza?
Some examples of uses and applications from our own Youtube channel:
Continuing in the same vein, if you’re interested in which foods can be prepared or are merely looking for inspiration, some simple, interesting recipes can be found on the appropriate page: Edible gold recipes and applications.
It is not difficult to use. However, applying leaf takes a certain touch, as it is extremely delicate.
It depends mainly on which type you want to use.
Flakes, for example, can be manipulated with tweezers, whereas gold dust, or powder can be distributed more easily, depending on the type of container.
Gold leaf is a separate discourse, whose application has some similarities with a more traditional use. If desired, an entire sheet can be used, which can be cut and used in whatever way you like.
The following video shows how to garnish a simple cake using a whole sheet of edible gold leaf.
Instead, we can see here how it can be used by cutting it however you like:
Other ideas and tutorials can be found on our youtube channel playlists.
Different forms of edible gold are sold according to the intended use. For example, Giusto Manetti Battiloro has the following products available.
The classic 5-leaf booklet can be used whole or cut into whatever shapes you like. It is suitable for all uses, but especially for decorating cakes or large surfaces,
Powder ( or dust ) and sprinkles can be applied using a shaker, making them suitable for a trouble- and waste-free use on any type of food,
Flakes are arranged using tweezers or similar methods, being perfect for decorating drinks or foods with greater care and attention.
It can be found at various retailers around the world. It is also available in the Giusto Manetti Battiloro catalog and can be purchased either by ordering from our site or directly from Amazon.