There are many different ways of pairing ingredients, dishes and drinks. Many combinations have a long history of success, born as they are from a shared landscape – ‘what grows together, goes together’ is a sensible and oft-repeated guide.
The key tastes – salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami – play an important role in balancing dishes and meals. Considerations of texture are important, for connoting freshness and variety. Appearance too, greatly influences our enjoyment of a meal.
Yet as much as 80% of flavour in food is derived from smell, from the many chemical aroma compounds that enable us to easily distinguish one food from another. Humans can distinguish up to 10,000 of these volatile compounds, breathed in through the nose and mouth. When foods share important aromas, they are more likely to match in a recipe. This is regardless of culture, history or availability – when there are aroma compounds in common, there are interesting pairings to be made.
Our guide to flavour matching tomatoes takes all these factors into account and offers advice about how to pair ingredients, flavours and aromas – and what drinks to serve.