4 perfectly off-piste food pairings
Some foods are simply meant to be together.
We all know that some foods are simply meant to be together.
Salt and pepper. Strawberries and cream. Cheese and wine.
Pork and apple. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Peanut butter and banana.
These famous pairings are practically soulmates, celebrated around the world as perfect partners. Everyone knows and accepts them. But any serious foodie knows that some of the most delicious food duos of all time are those that – at least at first glance – make the least sense.
We’re talking about the weird and the wonderful; foods and flavours that seem so opposite in taste that you wouldn’t even eat them in the same meal, let alone mouthful! Yet somehow, they just ‘work’. This is because proper food lovers, the most patient and the most passionate among us, are constantly exploring new ways to bring fantastic foods together.
So, this blog is our shout out to all those foodie explorers who have gone perfectly off-piste to deliver some of the craziest and most counter-intuitive culinary combinations – the ones that blow our minds but somehow leave our taste buds begging for more...
1. Coffee and Chocolate in Chilli
The first time we heard about this we were sure it was a practical joke. Adding a shot of strong coffee and blocks of dark chocolate to a perfectly good chilli con carne? Surely not! But it’s actually an incredible way to transform your chilli from boring and bland to beautiful and bold, giving it some seriously sumptuous depth.
The dark chocolate not only adds body, rich flavour and gorgeous colour, but it can also assist with balancing any acidity from the tinned tomatoes. And a freshly-brewed and flavour-packed espresso sloshed into the pot is always going to add another dimension to your dish, but it also reportedly helps to tenderise the meat too. Win-win!
2. Olive Oil in Cakes
Using olive oil in your baking is something you may have heard us raving about in the past. It’s one of the main reasons we love our Light in Colour Olive Oil. Until you’ve tried substituting butter for olive oil in cakes and cookies and other baked goodies, you really don’t know what you’re missing!
Olive oil will afford your cakes a silky-smooth finish and keep you cakes moist for longer. And the rich texture is only the start, next consider the health benefits. Replacing a saturated ‘bad fat’ like butter with a healthy dose of olive oil, one of the best ‘good fats’ we know, means that you can enjoy your cake even more knowing it’s having less of an impact on your tums and bums!
3. Coca Cola Chicken
This popular soft drink and poultry pairing is exactly as it sounds: a dish prepared with chicken and cola as main ingredients. As the dish cooks, the sauce reduces, developing the sweet cola flavor and creating a distinctive glaze in the process. It tends to have a wonderfully sticky texture and pairs perfectly with sticky rice.
Made popular more recently by Slimming World, and even featuring on the Coca Cola website, cola chicken wings are especially popular. We can’t imagine what they were thinking at the time, but we’re certainly thankful to the person who dared to dream up this delectable duo!
4. Ice Cream and Chips
In what might seem to some a disgusting display of dairy abuse, fans of this combo dunk their salty chips into sweet ice cream. The result is a surprisingly beautiful blend of sweet and savoury, brought together with complimentary yet contrasting textures and temperatures. It’s chaotic and we love it.
Trust us, if you’ve never tried this combination before then prepare yourself for something special – you’re in for a treat. However, if you’re not ready to brave this off-piste pairing in full, you can still benefit from the savoury-sweet combination by drizzling a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on your ice cream with some sea salt. Better still, check out La Española’s recipe for our Olive Oil and Orange Ice Cream. Oh, and please do feel free to dunk some deliciously double-cooked chips!
Now it’s your turn!
Have you ever ventured off-piste into the realms of experimental recipes? Maybe you’ve gone full blown Blumenthal with your weird and wacky masterpieces? Either way, we’d love to hear about it!