The Flavor Thesaurus: Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook is a team member favorite in our shop. This is not a cookbook, rather author Niki Segnit brings together a book full of food and flavor pairings, some traditional and others not so much, to inspire you to get creative in your kitchen. This book is a fantastic tool to introduce you to flavor profiles that make great partners to further your knowledge of taste to then take to your cutting board, fridge, and pantry and experiment with. Here are a few pairings we find particularly interesting! 

Blueberry + Mushroom: Here in Maine, blueberries and mushrooms are two ingredients you will find often in our homes, but the two together?! In the north of Italy, this is a combination you will find in pasta or risotto dishes. With a quick search, you can find recipes for a mushroom and blueberry risotto online! Our team member, Kayla, is excited to experiment with one of these using our Maine Blueberry Pork Rub.

Anise + Grape: Fennel seeds have a natural anise-like flavor, and sometimes scent, and is the anise component in this combination . Schiacciata, a Tuscan grape-scattered focaccia-style bread, is the reference recipe for this duo, using fennel seeds instead of rosemary to add flavor and aromatics. This combination can also be found in arak, a distilled spirit of grapes and aniseed, out of the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean region.

Coffee + Avocado: Segnit references recipes out of Vietnam, Indonesia and the Phillipines that combine avocado with milk (sometimes condensed) and sugar that is often flavored with coffee or chocolate syrup. This provides healthy fats from the avocado along with an energy boost from the caffeine. In other parts of the world, they may sprinkle sugar (like our Espresso Sugar!) or other sweeteners on avocado for dessert.  Aren’t ready to go so direct? Try our Mocha Steak Rub in burgers and top with avocado slices and a melty cheese!

Cinnamon + Grapefruit: My go-to for grapefruit has always been a simple sprinkle of sugar, but cinnamon is an ingredient I have yet to try.  Segnit provides a recipe for a grapefruit cheesecake with a crust infused with cinnamon and honey. Looking in to it, grapefruit with cinnamon and honey is a partnership that works with cocktails, mocktails or as a roasted dessert. 

Pineapple + Anchovy: Like pineapple on pizza, we can understand how this flavor combination might be confusing or off-putting to some at first. In Vietnamese cuisine, you can find a dipping sauce called nuoc nam, consisting of pineapple and a fish sauce using fermented anchovies. Combined with lime, chili and sugar the dipping sauce is complete There are similar dipping sauces that incorporate other ingredients, like garlic, and the combination starts to make more sense!

Olive + White Chocolate:  Chocolate of the milk and dark variety has been paired with salt in desserts and sweet treats for quite a while. Salt enhances the richness while balancing the sweetness and bitterness of chocolate. The buttery or briny quality and saltiness of different olives adds a sharpness and depth to the sweetness of white chocolate. The book mentions a chocolatier that uses dried kalamata olives with white chocolate in a chocolate bark, but you can find recipes using black or green for more sweet treats.

If any of these combinations sound interesting to you, or you want to dive in deeper, check out The Flavor Thesaurus: Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook by Niki Segnit next time you’re in our shop or browsing online. Happy cooking!


June 08, 2024

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.