Coming up with new ways to display food is certainly a challenge, but coming up with new foods to pair together in a recipe is a whole beast of its own. While ice cream and caviar might sound absolutely atrocious, chicken and waffles has made it onto menus across the world and in food trucks all over the nation. Who would have thought such a combination would ever exist (and be so tasty)?
So, how do you know when two tastes will pair well together? You could obviously cook a lot and rely on your killer tastebuds; even easier, however, you could turn to Foodpairing, a website with food pairing data that has been studied and analyzed by scientists in order to help both amateur and professional chefs create innovative recipes. It is based on the principal that foods can be combined when they share major flavor components.
The site lets you do two different things. First, you can browse creative recipes inspiring you to create non-traditional food pairings, like this almond cookie topped with mozzarella, fig and dry-cured ham.
Or these potato chips with cream of Brie and vanilla (editor's note: holy cow!).
You can also use the site to browse a "Foodpairing tree," an interactive visualization for which ingredients work well together. The closer two ingredients are together, the better the pairing. The chart below for "Cucumber" explains why I see so many cocktail menus featuring whiskey and cucumber concoctions. And, how delicious does a cucumber and strawberry gazpacho sound?
We just might have to use this app for some of our future food dishes — it could make for a great resource as we strive to add on to our 12 Ways to Grill Your Cheese ideas.
The website offers both a free and paid version. Try it out for yourself and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or finding us on Twitter. We'd love to hear about any interesting flavor combinations you decide to try!