Why Do People Eat Gold Today and The History of Eating Gold

February 13, 2019

Gold pizza and why do people eat gold

New York restaurant Serendipity 3 is known for creating the world's most expensive dessert: a $25,000 US ice cream sundae filled with edible 23-karat gold and 28 cocoas, called "Frrrozen Haute Chocolate." In 2012, a New York City food truck launched a $666 “Douche Burger,"  a Kobe beef patty with Gruyere cheese (melted with Champagne steam), topped with caviar, truffles and lobster, and then wrapped in six gold leaf sheets.

Why Do People Eat Gold and Why is it so Popular?

Eating gold might sound counterintuitive to some, since gold is tasteless and doesn't offer any nutritional value. But it's long been associated with luxury dining, often as a decorative flourish to a vast array of dishes, from burgers to donuts to pizzas.

"People get bored with the same old foods and look for something new and exciting," says registered dietitian Deborah Orlick Levy in an interview. "This recent gold-laced food fad is no different. It seems there’s something sexy about eating food covered in gold — not to mention pricey — so people are curious to find out more."

Welcome to the Wild World of Edible Gold!
But this trend isn't so recent. In the Middle Ages, royalty often added gold to their dishes to show off their wealth. It's well-known that noblemen wanted to associate their feasts with opulence, and what better way to display your riches than pepper your dishes with gold flakes or leaves?

Making Gold Leaf Sheets

Rather than buying gold bars, restaurants use gold via gold leaf sheets. As you can see from the video above, the process is somewhat complicated. Of course, you can also use gold leaf as an ornamental add-on to your home furnishing or accessories.

When thinking about why do people eat gold, some might wonder why even try?

What is the appeal of eating gold or any other metal? Well, executive chef at Toronto restaurant Aria, Eron Novalski, said in an interview with Macleans: “It’s gold. It kind of speaks for itself.”

When his restaurant first opened, the menu included an opera cake garnished with gold leaf. Novalski remembers: "When I studied in France, we used to use a lot of it in pastries, and it’s become a trend to augment a dish. The glistening, the flakes—it’s almost like fire." That's not an answer that makes sense to everyone, though. Are there other factors to why do people eat gold?

How Does Gold Taste?

Most recently, a Brooklyn eatery Manila Social Club has unveiled its take on golden dining: a $100 donut covered in gold flakes. While we haven't had the chance to taste this exorbitant dessert, a Maxim writer tried it and wrote:

It's safe to say that my golden donut experience was an absolute success despite my bank account's inability to support this bourgeois addiction. But here's the thing: the donut itself was pretty damn good, even without the gold flakes.

As you might expect, gold doesn't do much for flavour, but it's visually arresting and extremely Instagram-worthy.

Could Showing Off be Part or all of Gold's Culinary Attraction?

It's important to note that gold is safe to eat. That is, unless you're one of the few people allergic to gold. Gold is an approved food additive in the European Union. An independent European food-safety certification agency, TÜV Rheinland, has dubbed 23-karat gold leaf safe for consumption. In fact, Gold and silver leaf are also certified kosher.

The final word goes to who many believe is the godfather of edible-gold cooking, Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi of Lake Como’s Grand Hotel Tremezzo. The Hotel's rice, gold, and saffron dish remains a bestseller. Marchesi says the following about eating gold-infused dishes. "It’s the complete seduction of both the eye and the taste. In cuisine, these two pleasures cannot be separated because everything that is beautiful is also good."



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