The Science of Food Pairings
© Quentin Bacon / Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Ever tried eating almonds, bananas and chocolate with ketchup ice cream? According Sense of Taste, a Belgium-based culinary consulting firm, it should taste great. The company bases its research on a theory first developed by chef Heston Blumenthal of London's The Fat Duck and flavor chemist François Benzi. The duo argues that the key to a perfect pairing rests with matching volatile flavor compounds. For example, white chocolate and caviar have amines in common, so they should inherently taste good together. Not everyone agrees with such science. “That whole flavor-pairing crap is just a gimmick by a chef who is practicing biology without a license,” says University of Florida horticultural science professor Harry J. Klee in a recent interview with Chemical & Engineering News. Most great food pairings admittedly don't need complex research, like the long-admired combination of tomato and basil. These Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil turn the tried-and-true Caprese salad into a delicious summer sandwich.