Archive for the ‘flavor pairing’ Category

TGRWT #22 round-up

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

There were 7 entries in total for TGRWT #22 where the challenge was to cook with raisin and one or more ingredients from the flavor pairing tree of raisin from foodpairing.com shown above. Here’s the round-up with pictures and comments. Click the links to read the full blog posts and recipes. Enjoy!
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Gastrophysics symposium in Copenhagen

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

On August 27-28 the symposium “The Emerging Science of Gastrophysics” was held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen. The symposium poster said “interdisciplinary”, and with presentations by scientists in fields ranging from physics and chemistry to neuroscience and psychology I think it lived up to its name. In this post I share with you what I found interesting and useful from my own, subjective perspective. I must admit that I didn’t understand everything presented. Perhaps this is even a general challenge for the whole field. It illustrates how difficult it is to do science that is simple enough for chefs to understand yet scientific enough for scientists. César Vega and Ruben Mercadé-Prieto’s study on egg yolks is perhaps one of the best examples of a paper that manages to balance the two. A couple of the presentations were very successful at this, and I think that if we continue to meet at similar symposiums we will see many more papers that manage to catch the attention of chefs and scientists at the same time.

Throughout the symposium (more…)

TGRWT #22: Chicken stew

Monday, August 20th, 2012

For TGRWT #22 I started by looking at the foodpairing tree of raisin (see below). I decided to include roasted hazelnuts, bacon and cooked chicken. With fresh peppermint available in the garden I considered that as a possibility too. And perhaps with a Moroccan tajine in the back of my mind I figured I would like to add saffron, so I included that as well. Interestingly saffron appeared in the foodpairing tree of peppermint. To turn all of this into a stew I decided to include onion and tomato as well. It turned out quite tasty, and there was even an aromatic surprise, so please read on.
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TGRWT #22: Raisin

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


Impatient raisin waiting to be cooked

More than 1 1/2 year has passed since the last round of They Go Really Well Together, and in the meantime there’s been quite some publicity with TGRWT being mentioned both in Gastronomica and Chemical and Engineering News. Based on predicted aroma similiarity participants are given two or more ingredients to cook with and blog about. The idea is based on a science guided approach to bring together ingredients one might otherwise not have used together when cooking. Altogether somewhere between 100 and 200 recipes have been submitted in previous rounds, so it’s worthwhile browsing through the rounds-ups that have been published. Some readers have inquired about a continuation of the blogging event, and I’m happy to announce a new round of TGRWT starting today here at Khymos. In previous rounds two ingredients were chosen, but this time there is a slight twist as there is only one ingredient: raisins. Participants will then be able to select one (or more) ingredients to pair with raisins using food pairing trees at the Foodpairing website. Raisins alone rarely play a significant role in cooking, but their rich flavor arising from enzymatic browning reactions (as opposed to the non-enzymatic Maillard browning), and as such they are one of the rare examples of desirable enzymatic browning. I believe raisins should open up a host of possibilities ranging from savory dishes to the obvious sweet ones and look very much forward to see your contributions!
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A flavor pairing color analogy

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Flavor pairing is a controversial* topic which I’ve blogged about many times in the past. In my last post I suggested that predicted aroma similarity may be a more precise term, and below is an attempt to illustrate predicted aroma similarity (of type 2d according to this classification) by using a color analogy. Let me explain a little first: The letters describe different foods and colors are used to illustrate the sum of the key odorants. The normal situation is that foods A and K (which are perceived as different because they are far apart in the alphabet) also have different colors meaning that they share few or no key odorants. A and B however are close in the alphabet and have similar colors, hence they share key odorants. In some cases foods that we think are very different (A and Z) may turn out to share several key odorants (i.e. have similar colors). The “flavor pairing hypothesis” is a way of finding the “Z” based on predict aroma similarity. I think one reason why we cannot always find the “Z” is that (more…)

TFP2011: Flavor master class with Quico Sosa (part 4)

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

You can tell that the days were packed during my visits to Belgium (The Flemish Primitives) and Denmark (Molecular gastronomy seminar) in March by the fact that I still blog about it in June. After the sous vide masterclass I attended a master class on taste technologies hosted by Quico Sosa (the man behind the Sosa company) and chef Dave De Belder. Many may frown upon flavors and their use in high end gastronomy, but anyone who considers using flavors as a shortcut to better cooking should rethink this as both successes and disasters are amplified (interestingly, Bruno Goussault said exactly the same about sous vide in the preceeding masterclass).

In haute cuisine, technology must be at the service of flavour and not otherwise. We must escape from the myth that everything was better in the past and also, that everything new is better. (“The technology of flavours”, Sosa ingredients)

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Flavor pairing revisited

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011


Foamy strawberries with coriander (cilantro) from TGRWT #3 turned out to be a delicious combination. Could it possibly be a category 2d predicted aroma similarity?

As mentioned in my previous post about the flavor pairing presentation given by Wender Bredie as part of the Copenhagen seminar on molecular gastronomy I’m really happy that the topic has been brought into the scientific community. At the same time is has also become very clear to me that the term flavor pairing needs some clarification. First of all I have come to realize that the the term flavor pairing is slightly misleadning, and I wonder if aroma similarity perhaps is a more precise term. As I see it, today the term flavor pairing is used in a range of different ways: (more…)

Copenhagen MG seminar: Flavor pairing (part 2)

Friday, March 4th, 2011


Wender Bredie presented results from experiments designed to test the flavor pairing hypothesis

A topic that I was particularily excited to hear about at the molecular gastronomy seminar in Copenhagen was flavor pairing. Since Heston Blumenthal presented his white chocolate and caviar combination based on amines in 2002 and Francois Benzi of Firmenich the pork liver-jasmine combination based on indole the idea has been further elaborated by Bernard Lahousse and Lieven De Couvreur who launched the foodpairing website and by me in the TGRWT food blogging event. Despite the interest and fascination it is fair to say the flavor pairing is still controversial – see for instance the discussion with in particular Jorge Ruiz. What is clearly lacking in the field is a more stringent scientific approach (as well as someone with time, interest, a sensory panel and the money to finance the activities…). It was therefore great to hear that sensory science professor Wender Bredie together with PhD student Ditte Hartvig actually set out to test the flavor pairing hypothesis formulated as: if major volatiles are shared between two foods it may very well be that they go well together. To achieve this they used a sensory panel to assess the odor of food pairs mixed and unmixed. Bredie proposed that a hyper addition of odor intensities would perhaps be the holy grail of flavor pairing – that is if the intensity of the mixed odors would be more than the sum of the unmixed intensities. Or even better: if there would be a hyper additive effect on pleasantness(more…)

TGRWT #21: Gnocchi with peanuts and sage

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

In my everday cooking sage is really underutilized. The only dish I can think of with sage that I’ve prepared during the last couple of years is potato gnocchi. So this was indeed the most likely candidate for experimentation in this month’s TGRWT #21. Potato gnocchi are one of those dishes that I suddenly feel a craving for, and I make it every now and then. When I get things right the gnocchi have a very light texture which fits nice with the melted butter and cheese. This time I decided to incorporate the peanuts into the gnocchi and apart from that stick to the original recipe.

While cooking I tried to chew some peanuts with a sage leaf, and this was a quite remarkable experience. The roasted peanut flavors blended into the sage, and the sensation was stronger than what is usually the case from the previous TGRWT rounds. When tasting sage by itself it will actually remind me of peanuts and vice versa. The last time I had a similar strong sensation was when combining roasted cauliflower with a cocoa agar gel.
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TGRWT #21: Sage and roasted peanuts

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

It’s been a couple of months since the last round of “They go really well together” where food bloggers around the world explore food pairings based on similarities in their aroma profiles. The similarity is not based on the concentrations of the aroma components, but rather the odor impact of the components to the overall aroma (and in case you wondered: impact does vary with concentration, but it varies even more with the detection threshold). In other words, what this food pairing does is to point at two foods (which often may seem quite different) and say that these actually have something in common. And because of that it could be worthwhile to try and use them together when cooking. The 21st round of TGRWT is hosted by Greg over at Humbling attemts at creativity, and the foods to pair are sage and roasted peanuts. Head over to his announcement post for more details on how to participate. The deadline is June 1, so there is plenty of time for some creative cooking the next couple of weeks! If you’re not yet familiar with TGRWT you may want to have a look at some of the previous TGRWT rounds.