Gold is used all over the world and for a wide variety of purposes, in the jewellery industry, construction, paintings, electronics, medicine and space technology. However, you have certainly noticed some pastry cover with gold, be it a festive cake, cupcakes, muffins or a sparkling drink. Is it really real gold?
Gold is used to decorate both food and beverages
It is indeed possible to eat gold, and much of the gold used to decorate various desserts and other dishes is indeed genuine gold. Edible gold is one of the official food additives in the European Union. Specifically, gold is found in the food colour group and is assigned with the code E175.
Because gold is a chemically inert substance, it does not react with any other substance or compound in the human body. It also follows the fact that edible gold has no caloric content or taste. Therefore, food decorated with gold is primarily beautiful to look at, but it has no practical nutritional value.
However, if you want to use gold to decorate a dessert yourself, there are many options: well-stocked shops sell gold in the form of flakes, leaves and crumbs. Gold is most often used in combination with dark chocolate, as the dark colour of the latter brings out the brilliance of gold even better. But salty foods are no exception – Hard Rock Café, for example, has even sold hamburgers decorated with edible gold, and gold-plated beef steaks have probably all been seen on social media.
A tradition thousands of years old has reached the present day
In fact, the history of edible gold dates back to several millennia, when it was used as food and drink decoration by the ancient Egyptians, for example. Gold was also used in the manufacture of various drugs and elixirs that believed to ensure eternal youth. Gold elixirs also allegedly played an important role in the beauty and youth of Cleopatra.
But the Egyptians were not the only ones: evidence of eating and drinking gold has also been found in India, China, and Japan, where local healers used it in their secret elixirs. In the Middle Ages, edible gold was a very prestigious and exquisite food decoration that covered the magnificent dishes of the royal courts. Doctors also thought that gold would help with arthritis and other health problems, so it was increasingly used as a medicine.
Today’s research has shown that gold is not absorbed by the human body, making it safe to eat. However, it should be mentioned here that the purest or 24-carat gold is suitable for consumption, as in the form of alloys it may contain, in addition to other metals, other undesirable compounds that may harm the body. However, we leave the expediency of eating gold here to everyone to decide.