Monday, January 25, 2010

Coconut with Balsamic Vinegar

I went to a very unusual food tasting given in a TED X talk by Bernard Lahousse. He is an internationally renowned food scientist who gives advice to top chefs and food companies all over the world.

He told us that certain groups of foods have a basic similarity which makes it possible to mix foods within that group and find them pleasing to the palette, even though the idea of putting them together might not have occurred to anyone eg kiwi + oyster, chocolate + purée of oyster + vodka. It is in this way that creative chefs are pairing foods to bring us new gastronomical choices. This is termed "molecular gastronomy" and more information can be found at

Have a look at and you will find a chart showing links to different foods which pair well with an apple including
Foods: Parmesan, Butter and Gruyere
Beverages: Castañal Galicia, Chardonnay and Chardonnay (oak)
Chocolate, coffee, tea: Tea black, Dominican Republic white chocolate and green tea.
We can also look up a food on the site to find an alternative with similar taste if we are missing an ingredient for a recipe.

Many chefs around the world are now using Food Pairing.

We were invited to mix and match foods from a selection as follows:

- chicken, salami, caviar
- dessicated coconut, blackcurrant jam, dark chocolate
- balsamic vinegar, cherry vinegar, kecap manis sauce (a bit like black treacle)
- mustard, mild chili paste, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, olive oil
- cheddar, butter, soft cheese
- mint leaves
- whisky, rum

This was a fun game and as odd as it may sound, I recommend:
- coconut with balsamic vinegar
- mustard with mint leaves
- chocolate with cheddar and chili paste
- chocolate with caviar

The Flemish Primimitives will hold a seminar exploring new tastes on 8 February 2010 at the Concertgebouw in Brugge. Famous chefs and scientists will present their ideas including the renowned Belgian chocolatier, Dominique Persoone. Tickets costs 295 € + VAT.

"The Flemish Primitives is a unique combination of the strong history in gastronomy in Belgium and the cutting edge of a new generation of chefs. It's amazing." - Heston Blumenthal

You can hear Bernard talking on this video at The Future Summit 2009:

and at Ikanda, a congress for 1,400 Flemish 12 year olds which my son attended:
For more information on food pairing contact Bernard Lahousse - Food Pairing and Sense for Taste

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

1 comment:

Daan Buckinx said...

I enjoyed the event too. I liked my salami+honey+sesame seed mix! :)