Leaf, Gold and Silver,

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

leaf, gold and silver, are produced the same way, by pounding a piece of the metal between vellum pads until it is no more than a few micrometers thick. As inert metals, both are harmless to the human body and, although indigestible, are consumed in such small quantities that they simply pass through the digestive system.

In the nineteenth century jellies were sometimes decorated with either silver or gold leaf, and Mrs. Beeton describes a Christmas jelly of red currant decorated with both gold and silver leaf to imitate flames. See beeton, isabella. In contemporary European and American sugar craft, both types of leaf are used. Sugared almonds, coated in silver and gold leaf, are often served at weddings. A cake to celebrate a silver wedding anniversary (25 years of marriage) may have edible silver leaf over the icing, although removable silver decorations are used more often. Fancy chocolates are occasionally decorated with a small amount of gold leaf, to suggest luxury, and gold dust is sometimes sprinkled on cocktails and champagne. In Great Britain, a specialist supplier called Wright’s of Lymm sells gold and silver leaf for culinary use. Dust, petals, and flakes made of gold and silver sell in greater quantity than the leaf.