Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't Just Guess, Look Up That Flavor Pairing

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 4:41 PM

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Fresh basil and tomato, pork and fruit, peanut butter and chocolate — to go confidently beyond these traditional pairings, you've got to have a certain sixth sense. It's why great chefs get paid so much.

Now a team of Belgian scientists working with chefs and calling themselves Sense for Taste have created a shortcut. It's an online tool for looking up successful flavor pairings and displaying the results as a chart. The site called foodpairing.be lets you select a food and get a tree-style diagram of partners. (You're supposed to be able to type in an ingredient to search, but at this writing, the process only seems to work when you click "What fits well with" and select a food from a pull-down menu to the right)

Artichokes, it turns out, go with fried bacon or guava, linden blossom or mackerel. The pairings branch out by type: cheese, herb, meat, beverage. You can proudly serve artichokes with black tea, plum brandy, French sauternes or Kentucky bourbon.

You can also choose the question "What can replace ..." for a similar tree graph that offers alternatives for an ingredient. Looking to replace cardamom in a recipe? Try verbena, rosemary or gin! That'll pep up the ol' pudding.

The creators are continually adding new ingredients to the site so if you Google-whack it this time, you may find your ingredient later.

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