Edible, gossamer-thin sheets of pure silver or gold that for centuries have been popular decorations in India for special-occasion desserts, confections, nuts and rice dishes. Varak sheets, which are flavorless and odorless, can be found in Indian markets and cake decorating supply shops. The gold- and silver-leaf sheets usually come in packages of twenty-four, each section sandwiched between two sheets of paper. Varak sheets are so fragile that they dissolve easily with human touch and can be torn by the barest breath of air. For that reason, it's best to remove the top piece of paper from a sheet of varak and then invert the varak on top of the food to be decorated. The varak will stick to the food, and the paper can be peeled off. Varak will keep indefinitely if stored in an airtight container (to prevent tarnishing) in a cool, dry place. Also called vark.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.