Have Your Gold and Eat It Too
(August 30, 2007)
Tiny letters float on your cup of coffee, reading "Happy Birthday." Bright and shiny, they almost seem to be made of gold. In fact, they are! A new form of ultra-fine pure gold that floats on drinks is now being used to enliven refreshments at parties and other events. The sparkling appearance of the gold leaf is luxuriously romantic, and the gold is, of course, completely edible. The product is the result of technology developed by Japan's "hi-tech goldsmiths," who are part of a centuries-old tradition of metalworking in Japan.
A Unique Printing Method
Once created, this pure gold leaf cannot simply be dropped onto a cup of coffee. The gold leaf is so thin that it crumples easily, making it difficult to work with. However, coupling it with an edible film that dissolves in water makes it easy to handle. Tsukioka devised the idea of printing gold leaf onto this edible and water-soluble film, created with technology the company developed on its own. When placed in a liquid, the film dissolves, leaving a "Happy Birthday" message, angel, star, or other shape floating by itself.
There are currently 42 messages and designs available. The film is wound into a roll, and pieces are peeled off one at a time. With the smallest-sized packages at just ¥525 ($4.38 at ¥120 to the dollar), it is not at all expensive for a product made of pure gold. Messages and designs can also be custom made, although only for large-volume orders of ¥65,000 ($542) or more. Also on sale are a gold-leaf powder that can be used to decorate cakes and other confections, available in spray-can form, and a sprinkle-on flake type.
A Golden Tradition
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