The long awaited website on foodpairings has now been launched, and they’ve also registred the corresponding blogspot name (which isn’t online yet as of today). The beautiful photos, great design and easy maneuvering makes it an excellent place to start if you are looking for some new and perhaps surprising combinations of foods. The foods are grouped into categories such as cocoa (?), dairy, fruits, meat, sea food and vegetables. One of the vegetables listed is cauliflower, and clicking it reveals that the topic of TGRWT #7 (caramelized cauliflower and cocoa) is one of several possible combinations. This is how it is displayed (an important detail is that the shorter the distance between the names, the more flavours they have in common):
(click to open the full picture from the foodpairing.be site)
As an added bonus interchangeable herbs and spices are also listed. This is how it works:
A food product has a specific flavour because of a combination of different flavours. Like basil taste like basil because of the combination of linalool, estragol, …. So if I want to reconstruct the basil flavour without using any basil, you have to search for a combination of other food products where one contains linalool (like coriander), one contains estragol (like tarragon),… So I can reconstruct basil by combining coriander, tarragon, cloves, laurel. The way to use it is to take from each branch of the plot one product and make a combination of those food products.
It should be noted that the proximity of the foods in the diagrams is based on the number of volatile compounds they have in common, not the actual key odorants. As I have elaborated on previously, pairings like these should preferably be based on odor activity values (OAV). Or to put it differently, if the volatiles shared by two foods are not the ones that actually contribute to the overall flavor, there is no reason to expect that they go well together from a chemical perspective (which is not to say that they won’t match, only that if they do, it is for some other reason). This is a limitation both of the foodpairing site, but of course also of the food blogging event They Go Really Well Together (or TGRWT) which I have initiated. Having said this, I still believe that the foodpairing site is an excellent place to start, especially if you like to improvise in the kitchen. I sincerely believe that the site will spark the creativity both of professional and amateur cooks (just like TGRWT already has)! I should add that the website is set up by the people behind Food for Design, so no wonder it looks so good!