food pairing map

Finally, my love of French fries dipped in chocolate milkshakes has just cause — science.

Foodpairing’s website clearly shows that 31% milk chocolate (or more specifically “Blanc Collection Dominican Republic 31) pairs well with French fries. The same milk chocolate also, apparently, pairs well with kelp, popcorn, basil, chicken as well as the Japanese citrus, yuzu.

The pairings are just one of hundreds offered on at, which aims to show both master chefs and novices alike a glimpse into the (mostly) unexplored worlds of flavor combination possibilities.

However, instead of relying on a gut feeling, or a well-trained tongue, the folks at Foodpairing point to scientific research for their suggestions.

More specifically, the matches are based on an algorithm that’s the result of five years of research, and its scientific partners include Firmenich, as well as the division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) of the KULeuven.  

“The method is based on the principle that foods combine well with one another when they share major flavor components,” the website reads. “Once the flavor components of a particular food have been analyzed, they are compared to a database of several hundred of other food and beverage products.”

The result is a beautifully designed Foodpairing tree, which shows the featured ingredient at the center and then the ideal matches sprouting out.

“The shorter the branch, the better the match to the central ingredient,” the website reads.

What's really amazing is that the Foodpairing tree seems to feature at least one match from each food category, including: dairy, meat, herbs & spices, condiments, vegetables, pastry, sea products, fruits and drinks.  

 That’s where the real creativity possibilities are highlighted. Because, although it may not always be your first instinct to pair milk chocolate with any sort of sea product or meat, the tree shows you that not only is the concept OK, it’s encouraged.