If you've ever wondered why orange-flavoured coffee exists, or why chefs combine chocolate and blue cheese, this fun flavour map is for you. It shows you how many foods and drinks have shared flavour compounds.
Scientific American explains:
Science-minded chefs have gone so far as to suggest that seemingly incongruous ingredients -- chocolate and blue cheese, for example -- will taste great together as long as they have enough flavour compounds in common. Scientists recently put this hypothesis to the test by creating a flavour map, a variant of which we have reproduced here. Lines connect foods that have components in common; thick lines mean many components are shared. By comparing the flavour network with various recipe databases, the researchers conclude that chefs do tend to pair ingredients with shared flavour compounds -- but only in Western cuisine. Dishes from a database of recipes from East Asia tend to combine ingredients with few overlapping flavours.
To read the chart, click on the food dot. The bigger the dot, the more popular the food is (according to a global database of 56,498 recipes). Lines that connect two dots show they have at least one flavour compound in common; the thicker the line, the more flavour compounds they share. Red lines connect foods in different categories.
It's similar to previously mentioned Foodpairing, but it's another way of discovering flavour connections.
The Flavor Connection [Interactive] [Scientific American]