I literally tasted gold for the first time at Ju Ma Na at the Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali, where I was served a shimmering gold bar on a plate, accompanied by purple flowers and glazed beetroot. I later discovered that the gold bar was actually foie gras –or fatty liver- covered in gold dust. The fat from the foie gras was melted and mixed with cherry sauce to create a shade of red, and it would have melted into a puddle if not eaten right away. Sampling the dish, I picked up a taste of nori, or seaweed, which melted in my mouth. All in all, there was hardly any other recognizable flavor besides that of the foie gras and nori, let alone a metallic flavor. The practice of incorporating gold as an ingredient in food is thought to date back to the Middle Ages. Some also believe that gold was used as ancient medicine to cure digestive problems. Edible gold comes in different forms, such as gold leaves, flakes, dust, petals and threads. To be edible, the gold involved should be 22-24 carats. The precious metal is flavorless and inert, which means it can pass through the body without being absorbed. Mandif Warokka, the Executive Chef of Teatro Gastroteque restaurant in Seminyak, explained that edible gold was mostly used to add a luxurious touch to food and to strengthen its character. “Gold’s character is elegant, soft, and beautiful, so you must pair it with something gentle and subtle so that the gold can strengthen it,” he said. The best foods to use gold with, according to Mandif, are jelly, foie gras, tartar (raw meat) or caviar, but not lamb or beef, because those foods already have strong character. In European dishes, he added, gold was also used to decorate pastries, while in Japan it’s used for appetizers. At Teatro Gastroteque restaurant, I tried a pickled blackened apple covered in gold. The pickled apple tasted sweet was soft. It was served with a piece of chocolate cake and hazelnut syrup. Silver is another edible precious metal. “Silver has a different purpose. If you want to make terracotta white, it’s better to use silver. It also makes the food look more humble and modern than gold,” explained Mandif.