Food Pairing: the taste revolution in the food and bar scenes
What'll it be today?
White chocolate with caviar or would you prefer blue cheese on a chocolate muffin or maybe you'd rather chocolate mousse with crispy chicken?
Choosing is difficult. What at first glance can appear to be a rather odd mix of flavours and textures can suddenly turn into a delicacy after one bite.
Even the Romans jumbled up a variety of different tastes; sweet, bitter and sour, in ways which would be unthinkable nowadays. A classic, in this case, is pork stew with apricot.
The trend of food pairing makes combinations, which were previously unthinkable, acceptable. Heston Blumethal is a pioneer in this field, in his London restaurant 'The Fat Duck', he surprises diners with unimaginable, dramatic, tasty combinations, such as the aforementioned 'caviar on white chocolate'.
Blumenthal began experimenting with unusual flavours in the 90s when he teamed up with François Benzi, who worked in the perfume industry, to try and work out why two seemingly incompatible foodstuffs were a perfect match.
Through the pair's work, the chocolate and cocktail industries also opened up new doors in their search for a new taste explosion.
Food Pairing, as the name suggests, is the matching of differing foodstuffs which work well together. Well, actually, we already call this 'cooking'.
This is where the hardcore science comes into it. Food laboratories set about identifying the various chemical elements and molecular structures which caused certain things to taste a certain way, the so-called key flavours.
Once a match between two was found, it suddenly opened up new and unimaginable possibilities and turned them into reality.
This isn't to be confused with the idea of “Functional Foods”, where vitamins, probiotics and fatty acids are added into foods in order to make them healthier. This doesn't have anything to do with molecular cuisine.
Think of food pairing as a kind of speed dating. Who'll be a good match for you, dear chocolate mousse? A vanilla pod? Sorry, you've got nothing going on. It's hardly love at first sight with crispy chicken skin, but maybe he is your Prince Charming after all! The key flavours match, think about how well you'd supplement each other too.
In our interview with Fabian Spiquel, the head chef at Maison Manesse, he admitted to being a fan of Heston Blumenthal and his inspiring, creative cuisine. The fantastic culinary creations you can enjoy there will definitely get you excited!
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