All that glitters on your dinner plate may indeed be gold--23-karat edible gold leaf, the latest fad in food decoration.
Those who have really struck it rich can turn the Christmas turkey into a golden bird, coating the entire surface with the fragile leaves. That, however, takes considerable skill because gilding is a fine art, whether the subject is furniture or food.
On a more modest scale, a sparkly golden leaf atop a cupful of clear soup, a shower of shiny flecks in a drink, or a sprinkle of gold dust on a chocolate cake can also be impressive--and easier to accomplish.
The supplier of the edible gold--it's the same product used by museums to restore gilt furniture and picture frames--is Sepp Leaf Products of New York. Locally, the gold is available at Jurgensen's stores in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara. The price is $60 for a book of 25 leaves, each mounted on a sheet of paper for easy handling. Jurgensen's also carries the tools needed for professional application. These are a gilding knife ($24) and a squirrel hair brush ($18).
Jurgensen's advises that the gold leaf is not on the store shelves but will be shown to customers upon request.