Foodpairing: The new formula for the best taste


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Obviously opposing flavours are leading to an exciting and harmonious taste: Foodpairing is the systematic pairing of flavours that share a common key flavour and therefore result in the best combination for a culinary delight. Clear recommendation: Be brave!

Cross your heart: Have you ever thought about combining a chocolate mousse with roasted onions, mixing mozzarella with mango or serving strawberry with baked bacon? No? No worries - others did already make up their minds about extraordinary flavour experiences. This systematic culinary combinations are referred to as “Foodpairing”, which is already a fixed star in top gastronomy and the food industry.

What is the secret for perfect taste?

The star cook and restaurant owner of “The Fat Duck” - one of the most famous gourmet temples worldwide – Heston Blumenthal, is known as one of the fathers of Foodpairing: his kitchen reminds of a flavour laboratory where chemists and physicists are closely working together. In 1992, Blumenthal and the food technologist François Benzi started to investigate the secret of extraordinary taste. Together they studied unusual ingredient combinations, which, when combined, result in a taste explosion for the tongue and the palate.

Common key flavours for full taste

In the laboratory, it was investigated that especially completely different ingredients are the perfect combination when connected through a key flavour. When it comes to white chocolate and caviar the key flavour is aminoxid trimethylamine. Detailed research then revealed countless other extraordinary combinations which would not even have resulted from the minds of the most experienced chefs. For example salmon with liquorice or tomato and vanilla, but also chocolate and caviar, blueberry and radish or chicken and strawberry.


The experiment´s findings: one ingredient is compatible with others as long as the main components are equal. Thereof, the perfect cuisine or beverage is nothing more than an overlap of particular flavour molecules.

Flavour via calculation

The secret for perfect taste is based on special flavour algorithms that are raising the roofs or our taste buds. More precisely, it depends on the right balance between aromatic contrasts and similarities that lead to a perfect palate experience.

Foodpairing is based on a system: firstly, flavours are put together in groups of similar characteristics. For a better orientation, seven distinct flavour groups were established:

  1. Fruity and sour
  2. Flowery and sour
  3. Citrusy
  4. Woody and bitter
  5. Vanilla taste, smoky
  6. Spicy, cinnamon taste
  7. Roast aroma, earthy
In the next step, flavours, spiciness, consistencies, temperatures, cooking settings and proportions are taken into consideration for the calculation. If you want to hit the mark with a cuisine or a beverage, you can score by combining various criteria with the perfect blend of ingredients.

Foodpairing: A MUST in the development of food and beverages

A variety of databases is at the base of today´s well-founded research. Amongst them is the data bank Foodpairing NV (foodpairing.com), which does not only provide great recipes, but also a tool that can be used to investigate the perfect combination of flavours by displaying them in the form of a flavour tree. The shorter the line amongst the ingredients, the better the harmony.

All around the globe, Foodpairing NV is used by experts as a foundation for the development of exciting taste experiences. The Foodpairing-experts are constantly working to enlarge one of the biggest flavour data bases worldwide by including further flavour algorithms for food and beverages: for example when combining hake with Gruyere and Darjeeling tea, while broccoli tastes delicious with guava and mango.
food pairing

So: Have fun testing and trying!

Conclusion Foodpairing: The new formula for the best taste

Foodpairing combines various – obviously contrary flavours – to an exploding taste experience. The secret is the common key flavour of the ingredients which, on a first look, do not seem to belong together. International data bases enable experts and interested followers to research for extraordinary flavour combinations.

Flavours whitepaper


Cornelia Kerschbaumer

Cornelia KerschbaumerAuthor

Director of Marketing & Communication

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Blog August 25, 2022

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