It is the qualities of gold that make it one of the most coveted metals in the world. Not only can it be beautifully shaped and sculpted, it can be beaten into a sheet thin enough to be transparent. Gold in its purest form or when it is 24 carat pure, and when made into extremely thin leaf and flakes, is edible and used as a decorative element in food and drinks. In ancient times, edible gold was also used to decorate table fruit and lend an extravagant touch to royal banquets.
Edible gold is typically sold in leaf or flakes which can be used to decorate luxurious desserts, high-end chocolates or even in drinks to add a celebratory touch. When using leaf gold, it can be transferred to the desired food by simply touching it to the surface to be decorated. Edible gold leaf is made by beating gold into extremely thin sheet, less than a millionth of an inch which can then be laid as a cover onto the food item.
Theoretically one can ingest pure gold and not fall ill. Edible gold has no odor, taste, texture, calories, or expiration date and, generally speaking, there is no danger in ingesting it in small quantities. In this form, it is chemically inert and passes through the digestive system without getting absorbed by the body. It passes out of the body after about 24 hours without causing any harm or reaction. Gold of purity less than 24 carat, however is not edible and can cause serious illness.
Why use such an expensive element?
The simple process of adding elegant 24 carat edible gold to fine dining foods as well as celebration confectionary makes for a special presentation and a memorable dining experiences.
Edible gold flakes are easy to use if you want to sprinkle the tops of candies with a gold glimmer. The sheets are more delicate and can be tricky to use, but they are best if you want to cover a larger surface area with gold.
Using edible gold on food has been a very old tradition with many people and cultures. Italian Dukes and Earls used to decorate their risottos with gold as early as the 16th century. Alchemists of the 15th century used gold medicinally. It is said that sweets covered in edible gold were served during afternoon meals to sustain the heart health of the individual.
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Edible gold is readily available online or at specialty gold distributors and auction sites. Specialty cake and candy decorating stores often carry gold leaf or gold flakes. Gold sheets are also available at art supply stores, where they are used in art or craft projects. If buying from a non-food source, one has to take care and ensure that what you are buying is truly edible-quality metal leaf.
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