I don't cook myself, but I watch a fair few cooking shows. Recently the theme of gold and silver leaf has been quite recurring. My first thought was "Well it can't be actual gold. Who would eat gold?" But it looked very shiny and metallic; like it was actually made out of metal. I thought maybe it was made of chocolate, since I'd seen it in a lot of desserts, and the closest thing I could come up with was "chocolate coins are covered in gold foil -> the gold leaf is in a dessert -> you'd think it has to be something edible -> maybe it's chocolate?"
Well, finally I just looked it up. I found this website which goes into a good bit of detail about what gold leaf is. And...it's gold! I was definitely surprised. So my research uncovered that it was indeed made of gold, but now I'm left with another question which I did not find the answer to:
Why do chefs use gold and silver leaf?
I mean...you're eating metal. I'm sure it doesn't taste bad, or else professional chefs wouldn't use it. But I can't imagine it tastes good either, it's metal! I've tasted tinfoil before (not swallowed it, but come into contact with it enough to notice the taste) and it certainly isn't pleasant.
So all I can think is that they add it because it looks pretty. And okay...sure, I'll give you that. It does look pretty. But you're eating metal, expensive precious metals at that! The world's gold is going down our digestive tracts? Curiouser and curiouser.
So I suppose I'm looking for an objective reason why chefs would use this item. I see a lot of new and interesting and odd things on these food shows, but this is a real strange one for me. Is there an aspect I'm missing that makes the use of gold leaf make more sense? Or is it really just as simple as "it's pretty so we're putting it on there"?