Once again, I didn’t get the call before dawn this morning, nor was anyone reading it on the Food Network at daybreak. You won’t see it announced on the nightly news, and Katie Couric will probably not be posting it next to her cook’s stove. However, the top ten flavor-pairing list of 2009, compiled by spice king, McCormick, is now public.
As previously stated, the list is released each January and ranks up there with the Oscars, Golden Globe, and People’s Choice Awards according to the spice experts at McCormick. They of course may be biased.
This year the list spans sweet, hot, bitter, tangy and sour. The annual look at the tastes that will define the year has been release annually since 2000.
This year the winners are…
1. Cayenne and Tart Cherry: The flavors of two superfoods – the heat of cayenne and sweet-sour tang of tart cherry – pack a multi-layered punch.
2. Tarragon and Beetroot: This hip pair creates a sensory feast that is anything other than predictable or restrained.
3. Peppercorn Melange and Sake: Japan’s notable rice wine finds a new partner in the quintessentially French unison of multicolored peppercorns.
4. Chinese Five Spice and Artisan-cured Pork: Hand crafted artistry merges with a harmonious Asian blend to create an innovative taste sensation.
5. Dill and Avocado Oil: Mild avocado oil finds an elegant partner in clean, minty dill – reflecting the healthy goodness that comes from pure, natural ingredients.
6. Rosemary and Fruit Preserves: Fresh-picked fruit flavors fuse with aromatic rosemary for a progressive interpretation of sweet and savory.
7. Garam Masala and Pepitas: A beautifully matched global combination of an intoxicating spice blend from India and a prized seed popular in Latin America.
8. Mint and Quinoa: Nutritious, whole-grain quinoa is taken to new heights when paired with the exhilarating, cool taste of mint.
9. Smoked Paprika and Agave Nectar: Smoky sweetness from the purity of nature celebrates a union of Spanish and Mexican ingredients.
10. Toasted Sesame and Root Beer: An iconic soda is rediscovered for its versatility as a cooking ingredient, paired with the bold nuttiness of toasted sesame seed.
For more pairing suggestions refer to The Flavor Bible the latest creation from Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. The book is a palatable adventure through uncharted lands of spice, herb, and tastes paired by some of the most creative people in the industry.