Many foods are commonly paired together for taste: fruit jam and peanut butter, ham and cheese, cookies and milk, spaghetti and meatballs, wine and cheese, the list goes on.

But while there is no single universal pairing that will suit everyone’s palate, it’s good to go into a foodie experience armed with knowledge.

Below, executive chef at the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton Slobodan Stefancic shares some of the common food pairing myths that you should be aware of.

Only one correct pairing

One common misconception is that there is only one correct pairing for a specific dish or ingredient.

There are multiple pairing options that can work well. Taste preferences can vary greatly among individuals, and what may be a perfect pairing for one person might not be the same for another.

Experimentation and personal taste should be embraced when it comes to food pairing.

Strict rules

Many people believe that there are strict rules that must be followed for food pairing. While there are some general guidelines that can help enhance flavours, there are no hard and fast rules that apply to every situation.

Pairings are often influenced by personal preferences, cultural traditions, and regional variations. It's important to be open to exploring different combinations and trusting your own palate.

Dessert should always be paired with a sweet wine

While sweet wines like port or sauternes can certainly be a great pairing for dessert, they're not the only option.

In fact, a dry wine like champagne or a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc can be a refreshing complement to a rich, creamy dessert like cheesecake.

And if you're not in the mood for wine, a dessert cocktail like an espresso martini can be a delicious way to cap off your meal.

Matching flavours

Another misconception is that food and drink pairings should always match in terms of flavour.

While complementary flavours can create harmonious pairings, contrasting flavours can also be enjoyable and interesting.

Contrasts can provide balance, highlight certain aspects of the dish, or create a pleasant surprise. For example, a tart and acidic beverage can provide a refreshing contrast to a rich and fatty dish.

One-size-fits-all approach

It's important to recognize that food pairing is subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences, cultural backgrounds, and individual taste sensitivities. What works well for one person may not work for another.

2023-05-18T14:01:54Z dg43tfdfdgfd