5 Tips To Create Sweet And Savoury Ingredient Pairings
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When your fork pierces into cubes of watermelon and feta in a salad, the burst of juicy-salty flavours creates an unmatched flavour experience for the eater. Although, it is hard to think of this as a delicious combination when you individually perceive both ingredients, somehow the mellow sweetness of the watermelon and the robustly salty feta make sense being together on a plate. As delicious as that might be, sweet-savoury food pairings are an innovative way to achieve taste profiles that are complete in every sense. Read more to get a few hot tips on how to play with ingredients to nail the pairing.

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Balance Is Key

The key to successful sweet and savoury pairings is achieving a harmonious balance between the two. Neither flavour should overpower the other, and they should work together to create a well-rounded taste profile. In the case of salty ingredients or elements with a pronounced salty flavour, it is best to use modest amounts and amplify the sweet elements as a way of levelling flavours.

Complementing Flavours 

Look for ingredients that naturally complement each other in terms of flavour profiles. For instance, sweet and savoury combinations like honey and mustard, maple and bacon, or caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar can work wonders together. Similarly, sea salt flakes and dark chocolate is a combination that has been loved and adapted in many forms.

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Contrasting Textures

Pay attention to textures as well as flavours. Combining ingredients with different textures, such as crispy and crunchy with smooth and creamy, can add depth and interest to the dish. Similarly, exploring the world of umami – the fifth key taste, bridges the gap between sweet and savoury ingredients. Turn to ingredients like soy sauce, miso paste, mushrooms or cheese rinds to infuse sweet dishes with a savoury edge. Pair ingredients like miso paste with bananas and coffee, for a delicious banana-miso tea loaf or add a splodge of soy sauce to your caramel spread.

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Herbs & Acid

A touch of acidity can help balance sweetness and add a refreshing element to your dish. Consider using ingredients like citrus fruits, vinegar, or pickled vegetables to achieve this balance. Adding a squeeze of lime juice to a salad like watermelon-feta or using a few drops of apple cider vinegar in a pie glaze, greatly impacts the final flavours in a dish. Moreover, incorporate fresh herbs and spices to enhance the overall flavour profile of a recipe. Herbs add complexity and brightness to the dish, helping to tie sweet and savoury elements together.

Start Small

If you're trying out a new sweet and savoury pairing, start with small amounts of the sweet ingredient and gradually adjust to taste. It's easier to add more sweetness if needed rather than trying to reduce it if you've gone overboard. Adding just a drizzle of honey over some ricotta toast topped with fresh figs or berries, enhances the savouriness of the cheese, while also lending its flavour simultaneously. Feeling a little adventurous? Add some crushed potato chips to your chocolate chip cookie dough.