What unusual food combinations taste good?

Food pairingopposites taste yourself at

White chocolate caviar? Supposedly it should taste very good, at least say so-called food pairing experts. Food pairing is a method that comes from top cuisine and combines unusual foods with one another. Researchers have now found out why unusual food combinations are so delicious. It is due to the so-called key flavors. Dlf-Nova reporter Felicitas Boeselager visited the Institute for Life Technology at the University of Bremerhaven - and tried out some wild mixtures herself.

Kirsten Buchecker is a food technologist at the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. She stands in a university laboratory in a white coat. This is where flavors are researched. It's about what tastes good together - and what doesn't. For example, new products can be developed.

It smells like a mixture of fruits, cheese and smoked fish. In front of Kirsten Buchecker on the counter - ten glass bowls with various foods are placed in a circle around a sliced ​​mango and raspberries. The mango includes, for example, cheddar and a spicy Swiss cheese.

"It goes with a ham, but more like the air-dried, matured ham. I brought ginger with me and there are peppermint leaves that we could also try."
Kirsten Buchecker, food technologist at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences

The goal behind these strange pairings: to find foods that go well together, that produce greater enjoyment together than if you eat them individually, explains Kirsten Buchecker. The whole thing is called food pairing and originally comes from top cuisine.

It all started with Heston Blumenthal in England, chef of a very expensive luxury restaurant. While looking for the latest kick for his guests, the chef realized at some point: White chocolate and caviar taste very good together.

The gourmet's palate was quickly convinced. But he couldn't explain the unexpected pleasure to himself. So, together with a friend, he identified the key aromas of white chocolate and caviar in what is known as a gas chromatograph. A device that is used to determine molecules, including aromas.

In the case of caviar and white chocolate, it turned out that both have the same key aroma - so they are something like aroma relatives. And foods that have the same key aroma taste particularly good together. Such a gas chromatograph is also used at the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. In the meantime, however, companies also offer such aroma analyzes.

Mango with Cheddar - uh? Mmmh!

The next wild pairing is on in the laboratory in Bremerhaven: a piece of mango and a large piece of cheddar cheese. Orange and gold - the color fits. And the taste buds are quickly convinced: a slightly buttery note and the cheddar also tastes much softer all of a sudden. So maybe with scientific help our reporter found an alternative for the grape and cheese skewers at the next party.

If the foods share the same key flavor, then they enhance each other's flavor. For example with lemon and basil ice cream. Thanks to the lemon aroma in the basil, the ice cream looks even fresher.

A healthy side effect: when two foods go well together, the new combination can often also reduce the sugar, says Kirsten Buchecker. And she hopes that this could also work with salt. This is of course very interesting for the food industry - in times when there is a demand from all sides to reduce sugar, salt and fat in finished products.

"Okay, I dare, waah, I think that's really creepy. Now I have mackerel and raspberry on my fork that would happen to me again, but I'll take a bite - it tastes really good."
Felicitas Boeselager, Deutschlandfunk Nova reporter

The conclusion of our reporter: Food pairing can be successful. But don't worry, not everyone has to combine mackerel with raspberry. This is because foods that do not have the same key aroma can also go together. Chicken tikka masala is an example of negative pairing. And yet it is an indispensable part of the menu of a decent Indian restaurant.