Charted Territory

A new website pairs unlikely flavors

Whether food pairings cover well-trodden territory (peanut butter and jelly) or introduce new matchups that go slightly further afield (lamb and tuna fish), we're tickled by great taste combos.

Generally, though, the kind of matchmaking sixth sense necessary to create new couplings is something only top-notch chefs possess.

But now a team of Belgian scientists working in tandem with a handful of chefs have harnessed the power of matching flavors and charted it in detail online at FoodPairing.be–giving you the tools to discover the next Brad and Angelina of your refrigerator.

The website starts with two questions. First, users choose "What goes well with..." to see a specific ingredient matched with a tree graph of corresponding flavors (pictured). Experimental cooks will have plenty of fodder for new creations; one graph had us pondering a dish that combined oysters and milk chocolate.

The other route is particularly helpful for substitutions. The question "What can replace..." led to similar tree graphs that offered alternatives for a chosen ingredient. Looking to replace gin in a recipe? Try adding notes of carrot, rosemary and cranberry to the mix.

The creators, a collective called Sense for Taste, have been busy. They're continually adding new ingredients to the site, and also have a sister site, CarbonFoodprint.be, which instructs readers about how to replace carbon-wasting ingredients with low-carbon ones.

Here's to happy couples.