General Concepts In Flavor Building

There are no fixed rules for combining flavors, but the example just discussed suggests some general principles.When you are developing or modifying a recipe, think about the following points.

Every ingredient should have a purpose. Start with the main ingredients, and then think about what will work with them. Continue to build the flavor, using just the ingredients you need.

Ingredients can work together by harmonizing or by contrasting. In the example above, the rich taste of the liaison and the mild taste of the veal harmonize.The tartness of the lemon, on the other hand, contrasts with the cream.

When two ingredients contrast, be sure they balance. For example, add just enough lemon juice to the blanquette to balance the cream, not too much or too little.

Consider not only the components of the single recipe but also other items that will be served with it on the plate. For example, think of how we use lemon to balance the richness or fattiness of the cream in the blanquette.We can use the same idea to balance the fattiness of a pork pâté or sausage by serving it with a tart mustard or chutney on the side. In other words, think of building the flavor profile of the entire plate. Plan sauces, accompaniments, and garnishes to balance, enhance, and contrast with the main item and with each other,just as the flavors in an individual recipe do.


These are just a few of the many traditional flavoring combinations from around the world. Keep in mind that, although only one or two combinations are given for each country or region mentioned, they are not the only combinations used there. These are merely examples to stimulate your thinking.

Sour cream, paprika, caraway (Hungary)

Sour cream or mustard, dill (Scandinavia) Caraway, onion, vinegar (Germany)

Apples, apple cider or apple brandy, cream (France— Normandy)

Shallot, garlic, parsley (France— Burgundy)

Tomato, basil, olive oil (Italy) Olive oil, garlic, anchovy (Italy) Lemon, oregano (Greece) Cinnamon, nuts, honey (eastern and southern Mediterranean, Middle East)

Ginger, onion, garlic (India)

Fish sauce (nam pla), lemon grass, chiles (Thailand) Ginger, soy sauce (Japan) Soy sauce, sake or mirin, dried bonito (Japan)

Ginger, garlic, scallion (China)

Continue reading here: Simplicity and Complexity

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