When people think of gold, the first things that come to mind are luxury, wealth and decadence. You can often use this precious metal in the creation of valuable jewelry.

Naturally, then, when the idea of edible gold flakes comes up, many people are initially incredulous. After all, the idea of using gold in food is definitely not the norm. However, once you get over the initial surprise of learning about this idea, you may find yourself wondering how to use edible gold flakes for drinks or in cooking.

If so, don’t worry, as we will talk about these shiny flakes today.

What Are Edible Gold Flakes?

Edible gold flakes (also known as edible gold leaf) are small flakes of gold. These will be of a high enough standard of gold purity to be edible. This is real gold that is at least 22 karat in quality. However, the closer you can get to 24k, the best option it is for your health. 

edible gold flakes

Edible Vs Non-Edible Gold

You can assume that typically gold between 22 and 24 karats is considered edible. Meanwhile, any gold of a lower karat quality will not be edible and could potentially be toxic

Gold with a karat rating of 22 and 24 is perfectly edible though. As such, ensure that you buy food-grade gold if you intend to consume it. This is because this helps you be able to more easily verify that the purchased gold leaf flakes are in fact edible and of the correct quality for consumption.

The reason that higher karat gold is safe to consume is that purer gold has significantly fewer impurities. Gold in its purest form is biologically inert. This means that it will simply pass through the body harmlessly without reacting in any way. This means that you have not digested it, and it has simply passed through without issue. 

Lower-carat gold, however, contains far more impurities. These will typically be in the form of other metals such as silver, zinc, iron and copper. All of these will have a reaction within your digestive system, which may be detrimental to your health. 

That said though, imitation edible gold leaf made from zinc and copper. As a result, this is edible due to these two metals balancing each other out. However, since excessive consumption of either metal can be detrimental to your health, we recommend moderation.

Ideas for Using Edible Gold Flakes

With the above information in mind then you may have some ideas on how you can use flakes, dust or sheets in your own culinary pursuits.

Real gold leaf really does help to give some extra lustre to your dishes. As such, using it to improve the presentation of your dish is a natural choice.

If you’re unsure of how to use edible gold in your own cooking then the following examples are excellent ways you can do so:

  1. Decorating Chocolate Covered Treats
  2. Decoration For Drinks
  3. Layering Atop Food In Sheets
  4. Decorating Glasses And Crockery

Decorating Chocolate Covered Treats

Perhaps one of the most commonly seen ways to use gold with food is to use them to decorate some desserts. A popular option is to pair them with chocolate-covered treats such as chocolate strawberries or cakes.

Aesthetically the contrast between the shimming gold and that of the dark or white chocolate is truly a wonderful sight to behold. When the two different colours and finish perfectly help emphasise each other. 

Additionally, the gold won’t take away from the wonderfully chocolate taste of these treats. However, it will add a delicious contrast in texture between the chocolate smooth chocolate and the crunchy gold.

edible gold flakes on strawberries

Decoration for Drinks

In a similar vein to the prior idea, sprinkling some flakes of edible gold leaf into your drinks is an iconic way to implement the precious metal. Doing so adds some wonderful extra decadence to your refreshments.

Often, you can use gold flakes in clear alcoholic drinks or cocktails. The result being the addition of some wonderful extra shimmer to the beverage in question. The result is truly fantastic as it can make near enough any drink seem that little bit fancier. In fact, certain high-end bottles of alcohol such as Smirnoff Gold contain gold flakes in the bottle to further emphasise their luxurious and premium status.

Layering Atop Food in Sheets

Like with the gold-layered tomahawk steak (more below), a wonderful way to use edible gold in a delicious and decadent manner is to layer sheets of it atop the entire dish. By comparison to a sprinkling of gold flakes atop a dish, using edible gold sheets is a much more extravagant and expensive option. That said though, the results are truly staggering.

The practice of layering gold on food in this manner was incredibly popular in the middle ages. It may have fallen out of fashion somewhat, but has endured with its popularity increasing in the modern-day. 

However, aside from being a provocative display of wealth, layering food with gold in this manner does actually serve a culinary purpose. As mentioned previously, whilst edible gold doesn’t have a taste, it will add a crunchy texture to food. As such, when layered on dishes such as creamy cakes or tender and juicy steaks, the contrast in texture is a truly wonderful experience.

Choose the gold flakes and decorate your favorite dishes

Decorating Glasses and Crockery

Using edible gold directly with the food or drink in the question itself is a great way to add that little something extra to your meal. However, it is not the only way to use it. Another option is to use it for decoration or extra garnish for the crockery and glasses that you will be serving your meal on.

The reason you might do this is so that you may want the added lustre and wow factor that gold adds; but without wanting that extra crunchy texture. Naturally though, if it’s on a plate or glass, you may ingest the gold anyway. As such, using edible gold will prevent anyone who consumes it from suffering any negative effects that inedible gold could cause.

When wanting to use edible gold in this way though, there are a variety of ways you can do so. For a meal, a classic option would be to use some flakes as a garnish on the side of your plate. Whilst another idea would be to sprinkle some atop the main part of the dish. Meanwhile, for a drink, a ring of gold dust around the rim of your glasses makes for an excellent finishing touch for fancy cocktails.

Why Would You Use Edible Gold Flakes?

The use of gold in the creation of art, jewelry, and various other forms of decoration is an obvious and well-known use of this precious metal. Meanwhile, you may believe that eating edible silver or gold is a relatively new fad. However, this is not the case, as there have been documented examples of gold consumption by humans for thousands of years.

The popularity of eating gold has fluctuated over the years. However, the idea becoming gradually more and more trendy in modern times since the 1980s.

Nowadays, the most famous (or perhaps infamous) example of edible gold in the modern world is Salt Bae’s 24k tomahawk steak. which you can order at his London steakhouse.

Historically speaking, though, people have been consuming edible gold for a variety of purposes, from religious to health reasons. However, in the modern-day context, you can eat edible gold leaf flakes as something of a status symbol. 

Additionally, though, the inclusion of gold in cooking can greatly impact the nature of your dish. Whilst edible gold sheets will not add any new tastes to the dish, they will greatly influence the texture of the gilded food in question. Texturewise gold leaf will add a distinctive crunch that can pair excellently with textures and tastes already present. 

Aside from taste and texture though the inclusion of gold also as pure food decoration greatly enhances the presentation of your meal. This is true whether you’re using gold in the form of edible flakes, edible sprinkles or gold leaf sheets.

Ideas for Using Edible Gold Flakes

When using edible gold flakes, if you want to really put the wow factor into your food with this product then whether you go for less or more, or more is more, they will work a treat. Truly, the beauty of them is that they can work excellently as decoration but also for adding some extra crunch to your meal.

As such whether you’re sprinkling a few flakes on your dessert or in your drink, layering sheets over a steak or simply decorating your crockery/glasses, gold flakes are an excellent choice.

So, if you’re wanting to make things truly decadent with luxurious gold, then you really can’t go wrong.

FAQ – Ideas for Using Edible Gold Flakes

What is edible gold flakes made of?

Edible gold flakes are made from the purest of gold with the fewest amount of impurities possible. The minimum accepted standard for most when it comes to the consumption of gold is 22 karat, however, the closer you get to 24k pure gold, the better off you will be since gold in this state is biologically inert.

Is it safe to eat gold flakes?

Gold flakes are perfectly safe so long as their purity is 22 karats or higher. This is because gold itself is biologically inert, meaning it is not toxic in itself. However, impurities found in lower karat gold can be toxic when consumed in high enough doses.

Are gold flakes on food real gold?

Edible gold flakes that are used in food come in two different categories, real gold flakes and imitation gold flakes. The former is incredibly pure gold of a minimum of 22 karats. Meanwhile, the latter is made from a combination of zinc and copper.

Are edible gold flakes real?

Gold flakes that are edible, and therefore fit to be used in food, come in two different categories. These are real gold flakes and imitation gold flakes. Real edible gold flakes are incredibly pure gold of a minimum of 22 karats. Meanwhile, the imitation edible gold flakes will be made from a combination of zinc and copper.

Is gold leaf flakes real gold?

Gold flakes use in food come in two distinct categories, real gold flakes and imitation gold flakes. Real gold flakes, as the name, suggests use real gold and are of an incredibly high purity standard due to the minimum purity requirement being 22 karats. Imitation gold flakes on the other hand will be made from a combination of zinc and copper.

Is gold flake good for you?

Edible gold flakes must be at least 22 karats, with the ideal purity being 24k or 24 karats. As such edible gold is considered biologically inert (or at least near enough so). As such, it will not be digested by the body and will therefore pass through without any negative or positive effect.

Are gold flakes fragile?

Gold flakes, also known as gold leaf, are indeed extremely fragile due to their thinness. Gold leaf is typically manufactured to be extremely thin, often just a few microns thick. As a result, it is delicate and can easily tear or break with slight handling or pressure.

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