Everyone knows some foods go well with others.
Tomato and basil, cheese and crackers, lime and coconut... yum.
What about broccoli and chocolate? Or chocolate and blue cheese?
But while we know some combinations work well (and others just don’t) we're in the dark as to exactly why. Enter Dr Rebecca Jelley and Dr Danaé Larsen, two University of Auckland researchers looking for the secret recipe.
Food pairing theory works on a pretty simple chemical basis; foods that share more flavour compounds (mostly smell) will taste better together than foods that don’t.
But there’s a big geographic and cultural hole in this theory.
“Research has shown that there is this tendency for western cuisines to comprise recipes that are combining different ingredients that have shared these flavour compounds’, says Rebecca, a research fellow in the School of Chemical Science.
Listen to the full episode on Our Changing World to find out why food pairing theory could be as full of holes as Swiss cheese, and what Rebecca and Danaé are experimenting with to fill the gaps.