Creating The Perfect Pairing

Friday, 1 August, 2014 By Hanbit
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Have you ever had that perfect bite? The perfect pairing, where everything just works together brilliantly? It may taste like an effort that takes hours to create, but in reality creating the perfect pairing is not very hard at all.  All you have to do is remember a few simple rules – read on for the basic guidelines to pairing, using the example of beer, cheese & pickles. Cause it’s the perfect summer pairing!

In general you should remember that the intensity of beer should match but not overpower the food item.  To create a simple pairing you can start by looking for flavor bridges between a specific type of food and beer.  For instance, a brown sugar and caramel cake would pair wonderfully with a porter that has hints of vanilla. You can also experiment with texture, temperature and flavor.  Remember that contrast is key.  For contrasting texture try pairing crunchy with creamy or dry with juicy.  For contrasting temperature pair hot with cold.  For contrasting flavor try pairing sweet with sour, sweet with spicy or sweet with umami (savory).  Contrast is a really easy way to create amazing pairings.

Once you have mastered these basic rules to creating the perfect pairing you can begin to pair foods based on more complex flavor interactions.  For instance, a spicy food dish will become spicier if it is paired with alcohol, bitter flavors and tannins. Sweetness pairs well with a number of flavors including bitter, roast, acid and spicy flavors, because it has the ability to calm these flavors. Think of how deliciously a pot roast pairs with sweet potatoes. Acidic flavors calm salty and fatty foods and increase salvation. Salt counters roast flavors and increases sweetness.  Think of how much sweeter fresh cut watermelon is when you sprinkle it with a little bit of sea salt. Umami complements sweet, fat and salt flavors.

Perfecting your own pairings may take a few tries, but there is a lot of fun to be had while experimenting, that’s for sure!

If you’re in Chicago, we have teamed up with Brooklyn Brewery for a couple of classes on the Perfect Summer Pairing: join us at  Whole Foods South Loop on August 7th or at Mariano’s West Loop on August 28th!


At Scrumptious Pantry we preserve the exciting flavors of rare heirloom fruit and vegetables and precious heirloom seeds. Delicious varieties put up in gourmet condiments and artisan preserves for you to enjoy at home! Because Heirloom is much bigger than just Heirloom tomatoes.

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