As the price of gold skyrockets a new phenomenon has hit the restaurants of the world’s financial capitals.

Gold leaf has been used in food and drink for centuries in some countries. Japan, for example, has produced gold leaf in Kanazawa for many years and visitors today can still find shops selling products such as green tea and sweets, all of which contain this most luxurious of foodstuffs.

Europeans, on the other hand, prefer liquid gold. Polish company, Danziger Goldwasser, has floated tiny pieces of gold leaf in its products since the late sixteenth century and this tradition has been adopted in the USA by companies such as Goldschläger.

Now the trend has hit London with a vengeance too. Laura Santtini, an Italian cookery writer, is selling a range of edible gold and silver sprinkles which are sure to give anyone’s dinner party or Christmas get-together an extra bit of sparkle. These minute gold and silver shavings are extremely light and flavourless, so they are equally suitable for soups or sundaes.

Marketed under the name Easy Tasty Magic the sprinkles are being sold in a dispenser priced at £14.99, while a £15.99 kit contains two pieces of gold leaf, two pieces of silver leaf (both measuring 5cm2) and a small shaker.

London restaurants are following the trend for bling food: Mayfair’s The Greenhouse uses gold on its petits fours, while Rasoi Vineet Bhatia in Chelsea serves a chicken dish topped with gold leaf. Five stars for luxury go to The Bombay Brasserie, which serves caviar sprinkled with gold.

Laura Santtini remembers the 1980s, the last time gold became a popular feature of menus at London restaurants. “Yuppies wanted gilded sushi. One little pot of flakes could last a whole Christmas season.”

The city is unlikely to enjoy a white Christmas, but with the help of Easy Taste Magic and the current popularity of food bling, it could well be a golden one.