Blueberries and oysters? Chocolate and cauliflower? Blue cheese and rhubarb and pineapple?
If taste buds could cringe, then mine were recoiled into a wincing mess when I first learned about these flavor pairings. For those of you who have been eating at El Bulli or The Fat Duck or Alinea, this is all old news. For me, though, it was definitely an invitation to walk on the wild side.
To help wake up my outdated taste buds, my friend, Frankie, linked me up with Food for Design, where chemists and chefs and some overachieving web designers are putting together a provocative, highly entertaining website. With just a few minutes of clicking, creative and courageous cooks can find some very unusual food pairings.
Bernard Lahousse and Lieven De Couvreur in Belgium are the masterminds behind Food for Design. Based on the simple premise that "food combines with each other when they have major flavour components in common," their postings attempt to pair foods according to their physicochemical properties. If two ingredients share common sequences or similar molecules, the thinking goes, then their overlapping flavor compounds will echo each other.