Some foods notoriously belong together; strawberries and cream, peanut butter and jelly, or pasta and cheese. Other food matches, while less obvious, can be just as harmonious. We asked our chefs for their favourite offbeat food pairing and as with most things in life – don’t knock ‘em till you try ‘em.
Christopher Mark, Black Sheep Restaurants
On a recent trip to Florence I was reminded of an unusual pairing that I first tried in Rome – anchovies and blue cheese. Both have such punchy, distinct flavours of their own but they work surprisingly well together. Try this on fresh, crusty bread.
Daniel Calvert, BELON
White truffles shaved over popcorn ice cream. This combo hits all the right notes: salty, nutty, savoury. Plus, any excuse to eat more white truffle is a good one.
Gizzy Alesbrook, Hotal Colombo
I love to eat vanilla ice cream with soy sauce, which is not as uncommon as you might think. A little salty, a little sweet, what could go wrong?
Palash Mitra, New Punjab Club
Alphonso mango with gratinated stilton on top. It sounds like an insane pairing, but it tastes great, especially with a glass of chilled champagne.
Shun Sato, Fukuro
A dish that is popular in Japan, but unusual everywhere else, is natto with raw eggs and rice. For those unfamiliar, natto is made from fermented soybeans and has a very strong taste and sticky texture that some foreigners find overwhelming. It is also strange to eat raw eggs in other countries since the quality is often not as good as it is in Japan. For me, when you mix the three ingredients together you have a three-star dish.
Angie Ford, Buenos Aires Polo Club
One of my favourite dishes to eat and cook is mole topped with crispy fried worms. You have this complex, beautiful Mexican sauce with over 30 ingredients, and then a pleasing crunch from the worms that might seem bizarre, but actually works!
Lisette Magampon, Osteria Marzia
My favourite ice cream shop in Brooklyn is Oddfellows. They are known for serving a lot of funky combinations. One of their standouts is the strawberry and black pepper ice cream. As the name of the shop suggests, the flavour sounds a bit ‘odd’, but now I always crave it when the temperature rises.
Billy Otis, Black Sheep Restaurants
I quite like mixing chilli and fruit. My favourite is mango with lime and slices of either jalapeño or serrano chilli.
Tony Ferreira, Black Sheep Restaurants
French fries and ice cream — and no, I am not talking about dipping into your average McFlurry. I go all out and eat my fries with a hot fudge sundae for an explosive sensation of hot, cold, sweet and salty.