June 3, 2013

Monday Geology Picture(s): Golden Dessert at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Our gold leaf decorated chocolate dessert.

For this week’s “Monday Geology Picture” post, I’m continuing with sharing some pictures from my trip to the United Arab Emirates in January 2012. I’ve already shared some pictures of kayaking in Abu Dhabi and of the stunning decorative stones of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

One day while I was in Abu Dhabi, my friend Karima and I went to the impressive and opulent Emirates Palace Hotel. According to Wikipedia, this elaborate hotel cost 3.9 BILLION British Pounds to build, making it the second most expensive hotel ever built. The most expensive hotel ever built is apparently the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. One of the reasons that the Emirates Palace Hotel was so expensive to build is the fact that it is covered in stunning (and likely quite expensive!) decorative building stones. The stonework isn’t as elaborate as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, but there is certainly much gorgeous stonework at the hotel.

Karima and I didn’t stay at the hotel– we couldn’t afford it, most likely! Rather, we went for a fancy lunch, which was fairly expensive but a fun treat for a girls’ day out. We started with a mixture of savory snacks: Western style tea sandwiches and Middle Eastern style pita bread, hummus, and falafel. Then, we ordered a chocolate treat to share. To our delight and amazement, the chocolate treat was sprinkled with gold leaf.

The gold leaf was very pretty on the dessert. However, if you think about it, eating gold leaf is absurd: it’s very expensive, and it has no taste. Eating gold (at least the purified gold used for food items) won’t hurt you, but it doesn’t have any nutritional value. Nevertheless, considering that we were enjoying lunch at the world’s second most expensive hotel, eating a gold leaf decorated chocolate dessert seemed appropriate. Although the gold leaf didn’t contribute to the flavor, the dessert tasted heavenly; it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. Kudos to the bakers and chefs.

After lunch, Karima and I walked around the parts of the hotel where visitors are allowed. I’ll share some more pictures from the hotel, including many pictures of some of the beautiful decorative stones, in future blog posts.

A wider view of our golden dessert.

Other golden desserts on display.

Karima and I, posing with our golden dessert.