gold leaf (gohld leef) noun
Gold that is .3- to .5-microns thin and sold in sheets. In order for gold to be safe enough for ingestion, it must be at least 23 karats. Twenty-four-karat gold is pure, but very soft in this state. (This is also why most jewelry is 14k or 18k and rarely 24k.) When gold is less than 24k, it has been combined with other alloys, such as silver, copper or other alloys (which is fine for jewelry), but for food it must only be mixed with silver leaf, which is also edible.
Gold leaf is not digested, per se. It is inert and passes through your digestive system without being absorbed and is considered safe at 23k. Both Europeans and the Japanese have century-old traditions of using gold with food as an embellishment.1 Goldschläger (cinnamon schnapps) is a commonly available alcohol that has gold leaf suspended within.
Image: Peter Muka
- Gold leaf is sold in packages of usually 20 to 25 sheets that are just under 4-inches square and can be found through artist-supply stores. It can also be found in flakes, which can be shaken onto drinks or desserts. Try little specks of gold on chocolate truffles or in our Champagne Gelée.