Countdown To 2015 | The Golden Dishes of Dubai!

Pomegranate Sparkling Martini with edible gold

All That Glitters Is *Edible* Gold!

The gold price in the UAE at the time of writing this article is Dhs 4,392.61/ounce or USD 1,195.87/ounce (as per this site) – cheaper than the ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ cocktail available at the Skyview Bar in Burj Al Arab. The latter will set you back by Dhs 4,950 and you will be sipping into a L’Heraud Grand Champagne 1906 Cognac (imagine finding something in Dubai to toast about that is more than a century old!), Luxor 24k Gold Flake Champagne and Jerry Thomas bitters served in a Swarovski Crystalline Cocktail Glass with diamonds in the stem –  a glass that is there for you to keep later on. I haven’t had the luck to sip into this cocktail but I have no regrets. For a city which thrives on superlatives, this is not the most expensive cocktail on the planet currently, having lost out its crown two years back – so why bother? But then, grapes are definitely sour! Dubai being Dubai, there are many more golden options available to choose from – some of which are affordable and some of which I have actually tasted in order to write this blogpost (love my job!). A simple cocktail which had a hint of gold dust earlier in a Cocktail Masterclass that I had attended, left me looking at myself in the mirror every now and then –  my lips glittering from the gold dust freckles. I really wonder whether I would have survived an onslaught of gold gushing down my throat, had I sipped into the Diamonds Are Forever cocktail. As the countdown to 2015 begins, I am trying to gather all those Dubai dishes that I have come across with gold and glitters… probably diamonds following soon!

Pomegranate Sparkling Martini Untitled-1Sparkling Pomegranate Martini at Bā Restaurant & Lounge in Fairmont The Palm: I learnt to make this cocktail – a signature one from the cocktail menu and as Gasel, our bartender picked on the gold dust and gave the final touches to the drink, it made a shimmering golden film coating the drink’s surface and form a thick golden rim along the inner walls of the glass. The questions running through my mind were of the manner… ‘How much does it cost to put in a freckle of gold dust?’ ‘Should I keep the gold dusts that glittered on my lips forever and never wipe them off?’ ‘How does the gold dust  taste, smell, feel?’ I couldn’t stop myself from shamelessly sniffing, sipping and romanticizing on this cocktail! Bā Lounge embraces molecular mixology with a twist; from the gold leaf tops to carbonated effects, there are 8 unique signature cocktails to choose from. Location: Panoramic views of the Marina skyline from the terrace, making it the perfect place to watch the fireworks of the surrounding Palm Islands during NYE. Cost: Approx Dhs 150/glass (Dhs 20 towards the gold dust, I would reckon!)Ultimate White Chocolate Gold Sundae in Fortnum & MasonDSC_8990Ultimate White Chocolate Gold Sundae in Fortnum & Mason: I walked into the parlour with only one agenda in mind – tasting the sundae that I had heard about so much – topped with Sevruga caviar and gold leaf. I took a video of the sundae being made lovingly in front of me. Huge scoops of salted caramel & white chocolate ice creams, honeycomb, dark chocolate sauce – followed by picking of the gold leaf and topping it off with caviar (the Sevruga caviar being one of the most expensive caviars available) – the secret to enjoying this sundae is to start pecking at the top and keep scooping downwards until you reach the honeycomb, meringues and the sauce swirling at the bottom. There are different layers to the taste – the caviar, the salted caramel, the crunchiness of the crumbling honeycomb and the meringues dipped into the dark chocolate sauce. Created specially for the Dubai market, the taste dynamics of the sundae may or may not work for many, but it worked extremely well for me. And I think that it would definitely work here as it has got the perfect oomph matching the location and the image of Fortnum & Mason. Location: Strategically located in between The Address Downtown and the Dubai Mall, this is the ‘must-visit’ touristy spot. Don’t forget to click pictures of your haul, keeping it on the railing with the iconic Burj Khalifa towering in the backdrop (in fact it was the Executive Chef Paul Ryan’s idea and he seemed to be an expert in positioning the sundae cup on the railing – I like him!). Another stunning location to catch the NYE fireworks. Cost: Dhs 210/sundae and can be shared comfortably between 2 people. (Dhs 10-15 attributing towards the cost of gold leaf)lemonadeDSC_9084VOGUE Café Golden Lemonade at the VOGUE Café in Dubai Mall: From tasting the Ultimate White Chocolate Gold Sundae in Fortnum & Mason, I entered the Shoe Level District in the Dubai Mall, now to taste the VOGUE Café’s Golden Lemonade. Sprinkled with 24-carat gold dust, the mocktail is a citrus blend of fresh lemon juice mixed with honey, rosemary and a homemade golden syrup (the secret syrup) which is infused for 72 hours with different spices and herbs. The actual idea is to bring in a golden trolley with all the ingredients lined up and to create the mocktail in front of guests at their table. The trolley is yet to arrive and I am told is in shipment still. My verdict? The mocktail is stunningly beautiful and even the crowning ice looks exactly the same as in the press release on the mocktail that I had been sent earlier. However, I would love it taste more lemony and less sweet. Location: Tucked away in the Shoe Level District, this can be quite a hidden gem in a humongous mall like Dubai Mall (if there can ever be a hidden gem in a shopping mall)! Cost: Dhs 80/mocktail and I when I signed the cheque, it was with a golden glittering ink. Tell me it was  not a coincidence! (Think it would be Dhs 10-15 towards the gold leaf) Untitled-9Untitled-7Decadent desserts at Chef Silvena Rowe’s Omnia Gourmet: Chef Silvena Rowe’s creations focuses on food that are super healthy. Thankfully, so are her desserts, most of which are raw, gluten free, sugar free, paleo and vegan, containing super foods like Goji berries and different coatings like Quinoa or the Camu Camu Powder.  And to match the Chef’s exuberant image, many are sprinkled with gold dust or covered with gold leaf – be it the signature Chocolate Ganache Tart, *Dubai Lace* – the Chocolate and Hazelnut Butter, Emerald Shaikha tartlets, Raspberry and Chocolate brownie or others. Location: Housed in a Bastakiya style wind-towered Souk by the fishing harbour in Jumeirah 1, the location is outrageously attractive and a great bait if you have visiting guests. Cost: Dhs 29-39/individual slice of cake. Orders for whole cakes have to be placed 24 hours in advance. (Dhs 5 towards the gold leaf and lesser for the gold dust?)DSC_9101Gold Emotion from Forrey & Galland Chocolatier: This is a luxurious non-alcoholic drink – a sparkling apple juice juice paired with pure 24 carat gold leaf, infused into the liquid via a unique bottling process to maximise the flavor. Gold Emotion was born out of the Luxor brand, an exclusive beverage with gold flakes produced in France. Used by many hotels and restaurants to create their signature mocktail, it is available from the different locations of Forrey & Galland Chocolatier (Dubai Mall, Mercato Mall, Dubai Festival City and elsewhere) and also in VOGUE Café. Sally Prosser aka My Custard Pie talks about all the festive bubbles (even the non-alcoholic ones) that can brighten up this season in the Festive Issue of Food e Mag dxb, and mentions another luxurious drink – the Lussory Gold. The wine is certified ‘halal’ and contains zero percent alcohol, achieved with “a new patented dealcoholization system” that eliminates all of the wine’s alcohol content while retaining its structure and taste. This alcohol-free sparkling white wine has been infused with 23- and 24-karat gold particles and is available in Galerie Lafayette and Bystro Dubai. The Wow Factor: Specks of edible gold leaf floating along with bubbles in your drink! Cost: Gold Emotion costs Dhs 220/750ml; Lussory bottle would cost USD 150 or Dhs 550/750ml.DSC_9034 DSC_9047DSC_9038The White Gold and the Yellow Gold Tea at The TWG Tea Salon and Boutique in Dubai Mall: TWG Tea’s collection – the largest in the world – numbers well over 800 different single-estate, fine harvests and exclusive tea blends from all of the tea-producing countries. All their teas are hand-picked, and tea bags are made of 100 per cent cotton material. While a 78-page Tea Book is presented to you when you sit down to order from amongst the 1000 varieties of tea sitting in yellow vintage loose tins on a dark wooden shelved wall, what you should be aiming for are the ’24k gold coated’ White Gold and the Yellow Gold tea – the most expensive tea in the world. The former is a part of the hand-blended Yin Zhen, or ‘silver needles’, the world’s rarest and most fragile variety of white tea, with a melange of wonderful fruits, flowers and spices. The platinum-coloured buds of Yin Zhen are a rare delicacy picked entirely by hand and  privileged access to the small quantities of this most sought-after tea produced each year in Fujian, China (only 2 kg is apparently produced) has been granted to TWG Tea, making it one of the exclusive teas in their White Tea Collection.DSC_9048

It is quite obvious that I haven’t tasted this tea with a teapot having a hefty price tag of Dhs 998. Instead, a rapid fire question and answer session follows – ‘How does the tea taste?’ ‘People actually buy it?’ (yes they do) ‘How many people order it?’ (around 4 customers order for this tea in a month) ‘Which nationality of people prefer to drink this tea?’ (Indians, the local Emiratis, Saudi Arabians and Russians) ‘Would you able to take it out for me to touch the tea leafs?’ (No) ‘If I am writing a feature on this, but I don’t drink tea… would you be able to make one cup of tea for me to click a picture?’ (Sorry Madam!) ‘Would you check if somebody has ordered the tea in the salon, so that I can take a picture?’ (Sorry Madam) and many more such questions from my side… The lady at the counter was very helpful and answered to most of my questions but my first question. So I dug into an article in The NationalAccording to the  TWG Tea Salon & Boutique’s tea connoisseur Taieb Charif, a Frenchman living in Singapore, admits the tea is a hot talking point in the salon where he works. “Ninety per cent of customers I talk to like to talk about this tea. But because of the price tag, it’s only drunk by the few people who can afford to buy it.” Mr Charif is one of those lucky few who have tried the gourmet tea, so we asked him to describe the taste. “It has this mineral taste and a gentle hint of flowers, but really light. Even 30 minutes after drinking it, you will still have the taste of this tea in your mouth. I don’t understand how it tastes like that. It’s exceptional.” What did I get to see? Yes, the glittering gold specks gleaming out of the loose tea leaves and the unique gold-inflected crystal tea accessories that arrived to the other tables. Location: A glass walled encased oasis adjacent to the Waterfall Atrium in the otherwise crowded Dubai Mall. Cost: Take a deep breath… Dhs 35,560/1kg for the Yellow Gold Tea; Dhs 63,000/1kg (No idea how much of the cost attributes to the gold here, as I think that the entire cost must be towards those exotic tea leaves!)Oh My Gold Cake‘Oh My Gold’ Cake at  French Bakery, Le Meridien Dubai &  St Regis Saadiyat Island: No edible gold flakes or gold dust in it, this is the most creative one and an absolute winner in the Gold category, in my humble opinion! Not blingy and outrageously over the top, yet it is gold! A decadent buche de noel resembling one kilogram gold bar and presented in a black velvet box with gold inscription and crystals – this can be quite a novel *golden* Christmas gift having all the right Dubai quotient. Alexandre Treffle, General Manager of French Bakery, teamed up with Benoit Rodriguez, Executive Pastry Chef of Le Méridien Dubai, and Christophe Sapy, Executive Pastry Chef of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, with special participation of Master Chef Philippe Marand of Cacao Barry to design this creation. With a rich combination of hazelnut mousse, speculoos cream, hazelnut dacquoise, white chocolate parfait with biscuit breton base, the cake orders can be placed at all outlets of French Bakery, Le Meridien Dubai &  St Regis Saadiyat Island. Cost: AED 250/bar and can serve 8-10 persons.Most-Expensive-Edible-CupcakeLet’s not forget the first golden dish of Dubai – the ‘The Golden Phoenix’ from Bloomsbury’s in Dubal Mall: As we talk about the golden dishes of Dubai, mention must be made to the one which started all of these golden conversations – the unveiling of the most expensive ‘Edible’ Cupcake as Bloomsbury officially opened at The Dubai Mall in June 2012. Named ‘The Golden Phoenix’, this cupcake using 23-carat edible gold sheets made it on the BBC list of world’s most expensive dishes and uses the finest, most expensive ingredients available from around the world. As it was rolled in on a lush, Italian, Villari 24 carat gold plated Maria Antoinette Princess Tea Trolley and presented on a 24 carat gold painted Empire Morning Cake Stand with Cloch, the unveiling of The Golden Phoenix presentation itself exceeded $28,000 or Dhs 100,000! I personally haven’t Location: A very very British setting with vintage tea cups acting as sugar bowls and cake stands commissioned exclusively for Bloomsbury’, I absolutely approve!  Cost: $1,010 or Dhs 3,700 and presented on a 24 carat gold Empire Morning Cake Stand with Cloch by Villari.

DSC_4379What is Edible Gold Leaf? Is Gold Leaf Really Edible? Edible gold leaf is a gold product that can be used to decorate food. In candy-making it can be used to cover whole candies like chocolates or truffles, or applied sparingly as a small decorative touch. In most cases, yes. Gold is considered “biologically inert,” meaning it passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed. When selecting gold leaf, make sure to get gold that is as pure as possible – this means 22-24 carats. Gold leaf with a smaller carat value has more impurities and is less safe to eat. If you are careful and buy gold leaf that is clearly labeled as “edible” and has 22-24 carats, eating gold leaf is harmless. How is Gold Leaf Sold? Gold leaf is typically sold either in sheets or as flakes. The flakes are easiest if you want to sprinkle the tops of candies with a gold glimmer, and they are also frequently used for adding floating gold flecks to alcoholic drinks. The sheets are more delicate and can be tricky to use, but they are best if you want to cover a larger surface area with gold.  A Brief History of the Health Support Uses Of Gold: The earliest records of the use of gold for medicinal and healing purposes come from Alexandria, Egypt. Over 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians ingested gold for mental, bodily and spiritual purification. The ancients believed that gold in the body worked by stimulating the life force and raising the level of vibration on all levels. The Alchemists of Alexandria developed an “elixir” made of liquid gold. They believed that gold was a mystical metal that represented the perfection of matter, and that its presence in the body would enliven, rejuvenate, and cure a multitude of diseases as well as restore youth and perfect health. In medieval Europe, gold-coated pills and “gold waters” were extremely popular. Alchemists mixed powdered gold into drinks to “comfort sore limbs,” which is one of the earliest references to arthritis. Europeans have long been aware of the benefits of gold in the system and have been buying gold-coated pills and ‘Gold Water’ over the counter for well over 100 years. {Info from here}DSC_4378Where can you buy gold in Dubai? Sorry, edible gold dust and gold leaf in Dubai? Gold leaf is readily available online, from specialty gold distributors, auction sites, and even Specialty cake and candy decorating stores often carry gold leaf or gold flakes. In Dubai, you can source them from Muddle Me or Secrets Fine Food. Curious about how much edible gold might cost you? It would cost you less if you were to buy gold jewellery I suppose – 10gms of gold flakes selling at Dhs 360, or 30 gms of gold powder costing Dhs 160! Jasmine aka Pear Tree Diaries shares more… Panini Cafe in Grand Hyat sells gold flakes under the packaging of GoldGourmet (edible gold leaf manufacturers since 1867 in Germany) and it costs Dhs 105 for 100gm. Most expensive dish in the world - Atelier MMove away Gold, its all diamonds now – not yet edible diamond though! Atelier M in Pier 7, the chef-driven restaurant in Dubai Marina, celebrated it’s First Anniversary last week with the launch of the world’s most expensive dish costing Euros 30,000 or Dhs 134,762.36 at today’s exchange rate! The diners get a box made of 70 carat of diamonds, a silver shell plate and black truffles and imperial caviar served on a fillet of dover sole. This is a very special offer and only 30 plates will be sold. I first came across the Diamonds are Forever cocktail 2 years back when I read an article written by my blogger friends – Sally Prosser aka My Custard Pie and Samantha Wood aka Foodiva. Honestly, I had no idea before reading these posts that a world like this even existed – where people sipped into gold flaked champagnes and choked on diamonds. As for myself, I am more comfortable choking myself on Phuchkas standing by the roadside in Kolkata, or learning how to cook Thai red curry in a fisherman’s village in Thailand, or filming the Iraqi Masqouf in a small restaurant in Deira… but you know what? These are the golden superlatives in Dubai that make me smile – those that amalgamate to make up this city. Of course there are  many other things that you can do in the city and there are many idiosyncrasies that had once prompted me to write this article… Top 11 Unique Things About Living in Dubai. Would I like to taste a camel burger covered with edible gold? Hmmm… I am not sure! But the question is would I be able to digest the fact that I had eaten gold? Not until I carry a souvenir back with a mini scribbling certifying that I just did exactly that – sipped into gold or ate some gold and that would be my suggestion to all those who are serving gold – create a souvenir capturing the golden moment! Have you tasted gold? Do you have something to add to my golden list that I need to try out in 2015?

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: All pictures have been taken by me, excepting… the picture of mine has been taken by my blogger friend Debbie Rogers aka Coffee, Cakes and Running; the Golden Phoenix Cupcake taken by Shruti Jagdeesh; the Atelier M dish – pic provided by Atelier M and info shared by Debbie. I have used Debbie’s camera to click the other Bā Lounge pictures. Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. You can catch my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Not golden chandeliers or Golden Ink I suppose!

lights DSC_9098

A Culinary Travel Blog by a Bong Gourmet. From Dubai, Kolkata & the world beyond, street food to fine dining, recipes to chef talks, it pens down experiences. With 2 kids in tow!


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