Although peanut butter and jelly and milk and cookies are iconic food combinations many can’t get enough of, experts chefs explain that some of the best food pairings tend to be the ones you never even would think of. Pairing chocolate with chilli and sweet potatoes with peanut butter, for example, can provide your taste buds with an unexpected burst of flavour that you won’t be able to resist.
To see what other exciting food combinations are worth giving a try, we spoke to a handful of experts about all those pairings that will definitely take any meal to the next level.
Of course, some of these you may already know about and certainly weren’t invented by these experts, but you’re likely to find a new favourite. Below are some of the fun food fusions they recommend keeping in mind next time you want to get creative in the kitchen.
Combine chocolate with chilli for complementary taste.
“The natural sweetness of chocolate blends well with the heat of chilli peppers,” said Claudia Sidoti, head chef, and recipe developer at HelloFresh. That’s why traditional Mexican hot chocolate calls for a pinch of chilli powder, she explained.
Pairing blue cheese with pears bring out the best in each other.
“The sweetness in pears balances the strong robust flavour of the blue cheese,” Sidoti suggested. Somehow, they complement each other, and bring out the best in both ingredients, she added.
Serve watermelon with pink salt for contrast.
Sidoti explained that pink salt makes watermelon taste sweeter by creating a salty-sweet contrast that allows the sweetness of the melon to shine.
“Only add a small pinch of salt and evenly scatter it throughout the entire melon,” she said. “If you add too much salt, you’ll lose the sweetness of the fruit,” she added.
Honey adds some sweetness to parmesan.
“A drizzle of sweet honey is the perfect contrast to the saltiness of parmesan cheese,” Sidoti told INSIDER. Honey is meant to elevate the flavour of cheese, not drown it, so be careful not to use too much, she advised.
Peanut butter with sweet potatoes balance naturally.
“Whenever I tell clients to add peanut butter to sweet potatoes, I always get a confused look,” said culinary nutrition consultant Chef Julie Harrington, RD.
“Not only is this food pairing nutritionally balanced, but the sweetness from the sweet potato and the saltiness from the peanut butter pair well together,” she added.
Add some pomegranate to your guacamole.
This may inspire some confusion but it’s apparently great.
“This unlikely combo is a delicious, plant-based alternative to a classic fan favourite,” said Andrea Nordby, head chef of Purple Carrot. The pomegranate seeds add a bright and unexpected flavour to this quick and easy-to-make snack.
Serve butternut squash with caponata pasta
“This is a unique twist on caponata pasta, which is a Sicilian dish normally made with eggplant,” Nordby told INSIDER. “The sweetness of the butternut squash pairs well with the currants, cinnamon, almonds, capers, and mint inside this sweet and savoury combo,” she suggested.
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