The main difference between garnish and decoration is that garnishes are mostly edible, while decorations may not be edible.
Garnishes and decorations are two types of substances or items that can decorate food. Both can make various dishes more visually appealing. They also add a sense of complexity to dishes and show a level of care and preparation. The difference between garnish and decoration is their function; decorations purely have a visual function while garnishes have both a visual as well as gustatory function.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Garnish
– Definition, Types
2. What is a Decoration
– Definition, Features
3. What is the Difference Between Garnish and Decoration
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is a Garnish
A garnish is something that we use to decorate food. A garnish can also add flavour to a dish. In most cases, we use edible substances for garnishing. In other words, garnish refers to a small amount of different food that makes a dish more visually appealing. For example, leaves and herbs like parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, mint, and oregano; roots and greens like horseradish, ginger, endive and leaf lettuces; edible flowers, colourful fruits, and spices are some common garnishes. Garnishes enhance the colour of dishes and add colour contrast.
Garnishes also differ according to cultural of different cuisines. The type of garnish can also vary according to different dishes. For example, desserts and sweets have garnishes like confetti candy, chocolate, caramel, sprinkles, sliced fruits and nuts whereas garnishes for entrees and food include ingredients like lemon, spices, fried onions, herbs, sautéed mushrooms, olive oil, etc. When adding a garnish, cooks consider how they will balance a dish and add to the aesthetics of the dish.
What is a Decoration
Food decoration is something we use to decorate a dish. The main difference between garnish and decoration is that decoration is entirely a visual component. Decorations do not add flavour to a dish. In general, they are not for consumption.
Decorations are mostly used in baked goods like cakes, cupcakes and cake pops. There are different cake decorative items in the market as glitter dust, beads, petal dust, shimmer powder, etc. Some of these ingredients are not edible and should be removed before serving. Therefore, it’s always important to check the labels of food decorations before using them. However, some decorations may be labelled as nontoxic, but this doesn’t mean that they are suitable for consumption. Besides, we can also consider cake toppers and cake figurines as food decorations. Some of these may be made with fondant and are edible. But, some cake toppers are made not made with edible materials.
Difference Between Garnish and Decoration
A garnish is usually a food item that we use to decorate food while a decoration is some artificial substance we use to decorate a dish.
Garnishes are mostly edible while decorations may not be edible.
In most dishes, garnishes enhance the flavour of the dish, but decorations only have a visual function; they don’t enhance the flavour.
Garnishes are not toxic as they are edible; however, some decorations may be toxic to humans.
The main difference between garnish and decoration is their function; decorations purely have a visual function while garnishes have both a visual as well as gustatory function. Garnishes are mostly edible while decorations are not edible. Moreover, garnishes enhance the flavour of the dish, but decorations do not.
1. Harris, Molly. “Types of Garnishes for Food.” LEAFtv, 21 Mar. 2019, Available here.
2. “To Eat or Not to Eat: Decorative Products on Foods Can Be Unsafe.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, Available here.