The sophisticated art of preparing food can now be additionally inspired by the science of foodpairing. Following the principle of shared components, scientists from a Belgian firm have made an interactive tree application based on their abundant flavor analysis of foods. A lot of award-winning cocktails have been designed thanks to their achievements in this field of research, as well as a number of their bold suggestions successfully incorporate in contemporary restaurants menus: like the combination of chocolate and blue cheese, or the white chocolate and caviar union. If you want to explore and make your own culinary experiments, more or less bold, read about the scientific art of foodpairing. Maybe you will be inspired to surprise your guests for Labor Day or any day in a unique way?
Many food scientists support the idea that food tastes better when it is matched with other ingredients who share the same flavor components. This is recognized to be a characteristic of Western cuisines, but gastronomy is not only a matter of food, but culture too: for example East Asian cuisine is based on the opposite principle of avoiding compound sharing components.
A classic Western combination of pea – carrot – potato – cod – chicken fits the pattern of shared flavor, so if we follow the same logic, maybe you will be surprised to hear that the combination of pea – apricot – passion fruit – hazelnut – coffee – peppermint would probably create similarly enjoyable taste sensation. Does this intrigue you or do you believe that nothing can taste as good as your mom’s home-cooked baked beans does, no matter what science thinks about it?
“SENSE for TASTE” company focused their research on flavor, a chemical compound that has a smell, as they state that “our sense of smell is responsible for 80% of our taste experience, making flavor a key driver for the creation of food combinations.” Based on data analysis of several hundred food and drink products collected during 5 years of scientific research, they created an interactive Foodpairing tree that graphically presents common flavor combinations for the food chosen. Exploring the principle is simple: the match is better if the link between two foodstuffs is shorter.
So if you enjoy Western food, try to create new culinary sensations in your own home. Impress your guests for Labor day and make it exclusive. Explore scientifically based combinations and invent your personal recipes. Or try recipes created and tested by some of the famous chefs and bartenders, like “Hotdog: Chicken – Pumpkin-apple ketchup – tomato confit”, “Conference pear – lamb – parsnip – vanilla – chocolate”, “Café del Cauca – aubergine – chocolate – lime – vanilla”, or “Café del Huila – chocolate bread – roast beef – truffle – cucumber”. You can offer your guests “Bacon Whiskey Sour” or “Passoã® – whisky – tea – cinnamon – mint”, and if they enjoy some European beer brands you can precisely learn which kind goes well with what food.
The website Foodpairing.com had its premiere at the world famous gastronomic event ‘Lo mejor de la gastronomia’ in Spain in 2007, and since then it has been well recognized in Europe. The next step is opening a New York office later this year. Chef-owners of the blog Ideas in Food, voted as Best Culinary Science Blog in the 2013 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards, who have a consulting business based in New York City, already uses this database. They comment: “The Foodpairing website is an incredible resource which validates our instincts in combining ingredients and connects us to new flavor combinations we may not have uncovered ourselves. It helps explain how and why we combine flavors while at the same time illuminating new pathways to explore.”
Here’s a short video from the Foodpairing site to exemplify creative food-pairing.
Happy Labor Day!
By: Milica Zujko