Finally it’s time for a new round of TGRWT. It’s the 18th round and the host this time is Aidan Brooks, a trainee chef who works in Spain. In his blog he’s touched upon flavor pairing several times and also wrote a blog post on the same topic for “Word of mouth”, the food blog of The Guardian. The foods to pair this time are plum and blue cheese, and as usual you can read more about how to participate in the announcement post. The deadline for submissions is September 1st.
TGRWT is not a competition, but Aidan wanted to add a little competitive element to round of the meal. So his challenge to you (in addition to the normal TGRWT contributions) is to make a dessert using plum and blue cheese which additionally incorporates any two of the following flavors: salty, sour, bitter, umami, pungent, astringent. He will pick a winner and the prize is quite cool: he’ll make a restaurant level version of it, with the name of the winner incorporated in the title of the dish and try to get this on the menu at Restaurante Ferrero where he works as a Pastry Chef on the team of Paco Morales, Spain’s “Chef of the Year 2009″.
Regarding the chemistry behind this pairing there is (for once) actually some informartion available. From a paper on gorgonzola I’ve learnt that 2-nonanone, 1-octen-3-ol, 2-heptanol, ethyl hexanoate, methylanisole and 2-heptanone are the most important impact odorants of natural and creamy Gorgonzola cheese . For plums I haven’t found anything on impact odorants in fresh plums, but there is a paper on impact odorants in candied plums , and comparing the two papers I find that phenyl acetaldehyde, ethyl benzoate and ethyl octanoate are present in both Gorgonzola cheese and candied plums and have odor activity values greater than 1. There’s another paper as well comparing two plum varieties were the abstract mentions odor unit values, but alas – I don’t have access to the full text (maybe someone with access could check it and give me a hint about the impact odorants?) . There are probably some differences between fresh and candied plums, but at least this shows that you’re safe if you want to use candied plums when cooking up something with blue cheese.
 Moio, L.; Piombiono, P.; Addeo F. J. Dairy Research 2000, 67, 273 “Odour-impact compounds of Gorgonzola cheese”. DOI: 10.1017/S0022029900004106
 Nunes, C.; Coimbra, M. A.; Saraiva, J.; Rocha, S. M. Food Chemistry 2008, 111, 897 “Study of the volatile components of a candied plum and estimation of their contribution to the aroma”. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.05.003
 Gómez, E.; Ledbetter, C. A. J. of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2006, 65 (1), 111. “Comparative study of the aromatic profiles of two different plum species: Prunus salicina Lindl and Prunus simonii L”. DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.2740650116