Flavour pairing, or flavour bouncing - as Grant Achatz likes to call it - is the art of combining ingredients with complimentary flavours.
Most chefs will consider the taste, texture and aroma of an ingredient when trying to pair it with complimentary flavours but it’s actually aroma that plays the biggest part in how we perceive flavours.
Matching flavours and understanding what ingredients work well together is all part of becoming a great chef, knowledge that’s required over many years of cooking and tasting different dishes - after all, clever, interesting and tasty flavour pairings is what makes a dish stand out.
As difficult as it can be to try and understand how to pair the right ingredients, there is an aid available and we think it’s a pretty good resource for those looking to create some unique yet harmonious combinations on the plate.
It’s called Food Pairing and is a website in which chefs or home cooks can use a vast database of ingredients that have been linked together by their aromas and how well they work together.
It’s really simple - choose the ingredient you want to start with and the software will start to suggest other ingredients that match well your primary choice. Each time you add another ingredient to the recipe the software takes into account the previous ingredients added and only offers those that match with the flavour profiles already selected. It’s basically flavour bouncing that doesn’t really on the type of knowledge that Grant Achatz displays in the video above.
The idea is to work as an aid in the creation of dishes or to give interesting ideas to chefs who are perhaps tired of the classic flavour combinations they eventually start to rely on. We’ve had a play and the site is responsive, also on mobile, and it fun to use.
Take a look for yourself. A basic package is free and allows for basic combinations, however, to gain access to the entire database of ingredients, including beverage pairing ideas, you will have to sign up for one of their premium packages - these start at $2.41 and go up to $60.49 per month.