'Flavor pairing' engenders strange plate-fellows and scientific controversy

June 20, 2012

Wine and cheese. Sour cream and salsa. A burger and fries. Humanity's age-old preoccupation with food pairing is turning a new corner -- and fostering some very strange new plate-fellows -- as scientists and chefs try to make sense of an idea called "flavor-pairing theory." That controversial theory about why some foods taste good together is the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

C&EN Associate Editor Carmen Drahl explains that cooks and some chemists have teamed up in a new endeavor termed "flavor pairing" to find foods with similar flavor and smell molecules. It originated when a flavor chemist at a Swiss firm and a British chef realized that some of the avant-garde pairings they were creating -- like pork liver and jasmine flower or white chocolate and caviar -- had key flavor compounds in common. Drahl reports that flavor-pairing theory quickly spread through the culinary world, fostering efforts to develop more sophisticated ways for identifying good pairs.

The article describes one such effort by the company Sense for Taste, which consults with chefs, bartenders and food companies about innovative combinations. To develop foods like an almond sponge cake with poached banana, or chocolate and ketchup ice cream, the firm uses proprietary algorithms, as well as analytical techniques, that are also being used to find life-saving drugs and search for life on Mars. Sense for Taste publishes foodpairing trees that show the best matches to make surprising new dishes. The article also discusses the considerable skepticism over whether a valid scientific basis exists for flavor pairing.
-end-
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

American Chemical Society

Related Chocolate Articles from Brightsurf:

High social and ecological standards for chocolate
Worldwide demand for food from the tropics that meets higher environmental and social standards has risen sharply in recent years.

Chocolate is good for the heart
Eating chocolate at least once a week is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 ''Our study suggests that chocolate helps keep the heart's blood vessels healthy,'' said study author Dr.

Chocolate 'fingerprints' could confirm label claims
The flavor and aroma of a fine chocolate emerge from its ecology, in addition to its processing.

SUTD's breakthrough research allows for 3D printed chocolate without temperature control
SUTD's new approach to the 3D printing of chocolate using cold extrusion instead of conventional hot-melt extrusion method eliminates the need for stringent temperature controls, offering wider potential for 3D printing temperature-sensitive food.

The flavor of chocolate is developed during the processing of the cocoa beans
Can you manipulate the taste of noble cocoas in different directions to create exciting new flavours for the world's chocolate fans?

Chocolate muddles cannabis potency testing
Since the first states legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, several others have joined them, and cannabis-infused edibles, including gummy bears, cookies and chocolates, have flooded the market.

Do we judge chocolate by its wrapper?
Packaging is the first impression consumers have of food products that influences the likelihood of purchasing.

The smell of dark chocolate, demystified
Chocolate is one of the most-consumed treats around the world, and the smell alone is usually enough to evoke strong cravings from even the most disciplined eaters.

Great chocolate is a complex mix of science, physicists reveal
The science of what makes good chocolate has been revealed by researchers studying a 140-year-old mixing technique.

How the 'good feeling' can influence the purchase of sustainable chocolate
More and more products carry ethical labels such as fair-trade or organic, which consumers view positively.

Read More: Chocolate News and Chocolate Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.