Edible Gold in Global Cuisines: A Culinary Journey

Gold, a symbol of opulence and luxury, has been cherished not just for its monetary value but also for its culinary applications. Across the globe, various cultures have embraced the use of edible gold, incorporating it into their traditional dishes and celebrations. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to explore the golden touch in global cuisines with our friends from Barnabas Gold.

Edible gold leaf used in cuisine

1. India: Sweets Adorned in Gold

In India, gold is not just worn; it’s often eaten. Known as ‘varak,’ thin gold foils are traditionally layered atop sweets like ‘barfi’ and ‘laddu’ during festive occasions. The shimmering gold not only enhances the visual appeal but also signifies the importance of the celebration.

2. Japan: Gold in Sake and Cuisine

Japan, a country known for its meticulous attention to detail, incorporates gold leaf in various dishes. One can find gold flakes in certain types of sake, known as ‘Kinpaku-shu,’ turning a simple drink into a luxurious experience. Additionally, dishes during New Year celebrations might feature gold for added auspiciousness.

Sake being poured into a Japanese cup
Sake from Japan

3. Italy: The Golden Risotto

Venice, a city synonymous with grandeur, boasts a dish called ‘Risotto all’Oro.’ This risotto, often served at special occasions, is adorned with edible gold leaf, making it a dish fit for royalty.

4. Middle East: Gold-Infused Coffee

In the Middle East, where coffee ceremonies hold cultural significance, it’s not uncommon to find coffee infused with gold flakes, especially during special occasions. This drink is a testament to the region’s love for luxury and tradition.

5. Mexico: Gold-Flecked Liqueur

Tequila might be the first drink that comes to mind when thinking of Mexico, but ‘Licor de Oro’ is where luxury meets tradition. This liqueur, sprinkled with gold flakes, is often reserved for celebrations and special toasts.

6. Thailand: Golden Jelly

In Thai royal cuisine, a dessert known as ‘Thong Yip’ (Golden Flower) sometimes gets an extra touch of luxury with a layer of gold leaf, turning a traditional sweet into a regal treat.

Thong Yip
Thong Yip with gold leaf

7. Europe: Gold in Liquors and Elixirs

Historically, European alchemists often infused healing elixirs with gold. Today, certain European liquors and drinks, like ‘Goldschläger,’ a Swiss cinnamon schnapps, contain real gold flakes, continuing the tradition of blending gold with beverages.


The use of edible gold in global cuisines is a testament to humanity’s universal love for luxury and the extraordinary. It transcends borders, making dishes not just visually captivating but also culturally significant. As we’ve seen, whether it’s a festive sweet in India or a regal risotto in Italy, gold has found its way to our plates, telling stories of traditions, celebrations, and the human penchant for grandeur.

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