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Weird & Wonderful: 11 Unusual Food Pairings

24 Mar , 2016  

There’s pleasure to be found in the strange and unusual, and when it comes to weird food pairings, the same holds true. While you can’t just throw together any two ingredients and expect it to work, a combination that does work can truly elevate a dish from good to brilliant.

Bacon and milk chocolate:
There’s something about the saltiness of bacon that works wonders on sweet, creamy milk chocolate. From chocolate covered bacon to bacon-studded ice cream, it takes the much-loved sea salt-chocolate combo to the next level. Order a tub of bacon and milk chocolate ice cream from Caramel Carousel to see what the fuss is about.

Fancy some chocolate bacon ice-cream?

Fancy some chocolate bacon ice-cream?

 

Chocolate and chilli:
This combination of flavours doesn’t really blend together—in fact it’s a little bit jarring – but in a good way. Chilli adds a kick to smooth, dark chocolate like nothing else can, and chocolatiers around the world have been capitalising on this for years. Lindt does a lovely dark chocolate and chilli bar.

Smooth, rich taste of chocolate alongside a spicy hit - believe us, it's worth a try

Smooth, rich taste of chocolate alongside a spicy hit – believe us, it’s worth a try

 

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar:
The classic odd couple of food pairings, the sweetness in strawberries balance out tart balsamic, while the vinegar’s smoky flavour holds it all together. There are many ways to eat this combo (add sugar and a pinch of pepper for a classic Italian dessert), but my favourite is in a strawberry and roquette salad sprinkled with candied walnuts (to balance out the spicy leaves) and a balsamic vinaigrette.

A classic odd couple, yes, but it may just become your favourite

A classic odd couple, yes, but it may just become your favourite

 

Apples and peanut butter:
Smooth, creamy peanut butter and crisp apples are a match made in heaven. The diet conscious will love it for its low calorie count, while anyone with taste buds will love it for being straight up delicious.

Nutty, fruity and totally yum, try this, will you?

Nutty, fruity and totally yum, try this, will you?

 

Blue cheese and honey:
This one’s a no-brainer – the sugar in honey provides a contrast and balance to the strong, smelly cheese. Have it on toast or with crackers and chopped walnuts for a perfect snack.

Crackers, cheese and honey, a perfect mid-day snack (Image credits: Pam Anderson)

Crackers, cheese and honey, a perfect mid-day snack (Image credits: Pam Anderson)

 

Jam/fruit preserves and sharp cheddar cheese:
Another classic, but unusual cheese and sweet combination, a good fruit preserve (try peach if you can get your hands on it) manages to enhance the flavour of sharp cheddar, while the sharp cheese, inexplicably, doesn’t overshadow the preserve. Again, have it on toast or, better yet, in a grilled sandwich, for the perfect sweet and savoury breakfast or snack.

Stuff this combo between slices of bread; bye-bye hunger pangs!

Stuff this combo between slices of bread; bye-bye hunger pangs!

 

Strawberries with parmesan:
Chocolate covered strawberries are a decadent, delicious treat, but the next time you get your hands on these berries, sprinkle them with parmesan cheese for a combination to die for.

Skip chocolate, try parmesan with strawberries, then thank us for suggesting, okay?

Skip chocolate, try parmesan with strawberries, then thank us for suggesting, okay?

 

Peanut butter, salami and mustard:
Okay, so this isn’t a pair, more like a triple threat. The thing about peanut butter is, we often forget it can be used as a savoury condiment (chicken satay with peanut sauce anyone?), so the next time you’re making a salami sandwich, skip the cheese-mayo combo and use mustard and peanut butter instead. While smooth works fine, chunky peanut butter adds a great crunchy element to the sandwich. You’ll be surprised how well this combination works as a spread. If you want a sweet touch, skip the mustard and use jam instead. Bacon works well too.

Healthy and tasty, need we say more? Oh, and you can add bacon too (Image credits: Nancy Einhart)

 

Watermelon and feta:
Watermelon sprinkled with salt is a super simple snack that’s perfect for the summer. But replace the salt with feta and you have a truly winning combination. While you can try it at a number of restaurants, Mumbai’s Tasting Room is famous for its watermelon feta salad.

You ought to give the salad at Tasting Room a try (Image credits: Anika Gupta)

You ought to give the salad at Tasting Room a try (Image credits: Anika Gupta)

 

Chocolate and potato chips:
I think we’ve more or less established the beauty of adding salt to chocolate (considering you can find sea salt-flecked desserts almost anywhere these days), and anybody who’s eaten Royce’s chocolate covered potato chips knows just how good this strange food pairing can be. They’re salty and sweet and entirely addictive. Lay’s sell them too, though unfortunately not in India.

Salty and chocolatey, a match made in heaven

Salty and chocolatey, a match made in heaven (Image credits: K. Felipe)

 

Bhindi and eggs:
The rumours are true — we Parsis are obsessed with eggs, and firm believers in the idea that they can make anything better. Take, for example, the Parsi household favourite — bheeda par eda (literally just an egg over bhindi subji, preferably with the yolk intact). The slimy bhindi and silken egg whites and runny yolk are a masterful contrast of textures best mopped up with plenty of roti (though pao works too). Try it at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu in Delhi (reserve now) or, better yet, get yourself invited to a Parsi friend’s house for dinner.

Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu in Delhi will give your taste buds a meal to remember with this dish

Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu in Delhi will give your taste buds a meal to remember with this dish

 

Have any weird food combos you love to eat? Let us know in the comments below!


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Freyan Patel is a Mumbai-based freelance writer who nourishes her fixation with good grammar by writing high school-level English textbooks by day and fretting over typos in tweets by night. She also indulges her unhealthy obsession with food by eating, dreaming of, and occasionally writing about it in her free time. She likes funny people, reality TV, words that are fun to say, pina coladas (but isn't too keen on getting caught in the rain), and anyone who gets her references to corny retro songs.

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