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Without neccesarily going into molecular cooking (although we could): does any literature / website / theory provide information on flavor / flavour combinations that go well together?

(ignoring texture at this time: I'm sure it's a contributing factor)

The palate 'likes' certain combinations of sweet, salty, fatty, etc., sure. And certain complex flavours are found in many different recipes - a result of tradition and empirical succes.


  • tomatoes, mozzarella, basil (generally: tomatoes and green herbs)
  • soy / ginger
  • carrots / celery (baked, often with bacon or a meat)
  • strawberries / cream

etc. etc. etc.

The dream answer to this question would be some sort of map, visually grouping things, but that may not be possible in 2d.

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+1 Great question! I've never thought of this. Cooking is art and science. – JustRightMenus Jul 22 '10 at 14:47
I've gotten some great answers I will be looking into. Instead of marking one answer as 'the answer', how do people feel about making this a community wiki? – Tobias Op Den Brouw Jul 24 '10 at 15:40
-1 for "flavour" spelling.. haha j/k – zanlok Dec 3 '10 at 18:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Check out a site called Food Pairing. They have excellent graphical visualizations of what combines well with given ingredients and also use common flavor profiles to help you determine appropriate substitutions. I think this is pretty close to the "map" you are asking for.

Khymos is a great resource as already mentioned.

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Ah yes, I know that map style well, there's a (German, I think) site that does the same for bands (music). I'm liking what I see, though.... for instance, when I enter 'mango', I get suggestion I immediately understand, but also ones that require a bit more cleverness. Edit: Is it just me, or is their ingredient list still a bit short? – Tobias Op Den Brouw Jul 24 '10 at 19:48

I picked up The Flavour Thesaurus at the weekend. It is organised much like Roget's Thesaurus, and for each flavour has entries for several flavours that work well with it. Many entries have either recipes or suggestions. There is an ample index for cross-referencing. One thing to note is that the entries are written in quite a familiar style, some may find this annoying, but I thought that many of them hit the mark.

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+1 for the link to that book. looks awesome. – Sam Holder Jul 22 '10 at 14:09

I've followed the website for a while now. Their tagline—molecular gastronomy and the science of cooking—pretty much sums up what they're about.

There are many resources on their site about the molecular reasons of why foods taste the way they do, why foods go well together, and how cooking processes work.

I find their TGRWT (They Go Really Well Together) section to be particularly interesting:

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+1 This site certainly looks well worth browsing through. I'll add it to my morning ritual! – JustRightMenus Jul 22 '10 at 14:51
Indeed, very useful site. They have a great resource there as well called the Hyrdocolloid Recipe Collection. – Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 5:29

I've seen a ton of recommendations for The Flavor Bible.

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Yes, it has both a lot of theory and nearly exhaustive lists of combinations that have been found to be pleasing in practice. – Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 5:27

Also, cuuks (site) seems to be useful.

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I like it a lot; I use it to jumpstart my creativity and record my more sucessfull combinations. – Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 5:28

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