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23 Unexpected Flavor Combos That Taste Amazing

Some of these are recent discoveries from chefs like Heston Blumenthal who study the chemical compounds of food. Others have been paired together for centuries in various ethnic cuisines. Either way: They work.

1. Olives + White Chocolate

2. Strawberries + Fava Beans

amazon.com

Try it in chef Chris Cosentino's Fava Bean and Strawberry Salad with Pecorino.

3. Salmon + Licorice

Flickr: misskoslow

Salmon in liquorice gel at The Fat Duck restaurant. See it re-created here.

4. Oyster + Kiwi

5. Chocolate + Sage

zackburris.com

Fried Sage on Spicy Beef Jerky with Dark Chocolate by photographer Zack Burris.

6. Apple + Lavender

7. Lamb + Anchovy

8. Mushroom + Apricot

9. Egg + Beet

gourmet.com

Try it in Gourmet's Aussie Burger recipe.

10. Egg + Coconut

beyondtheplate.net

Southeast Asia's Kaya jam — a delicious combination of coconut milk, eggs, and sugar — is gaining popularity in the U.S., thanks to chef Susan Feniger's new cookbook Street Food. In Asia it's a breakfast dish and is spread on butter toast.

Try a recipe for Kaya Toast here.

11. Strawberry + Tomato

food52.com

Try it in Eleven Madison's Strawberry Gazpacho recipe on food52.

12. Rhubarb + Anise

13. Butternut Squash + Lime

14. Oysters + Watermelon

marthastewart.com

Try it in a recipe for Oysters on the Half Shell with Watermelon Granita from Martha Stewart.

15. Avocado + Coffee

scrumptiousreads.com

Blend 1/2 avocado with 1 cup brewed coffee (cooled), 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 2 tsp vanilla and ice cubes.

16. Orange + Olive

17. Mushroom + Blueberry

18. Chocolate + Onion

foodpairing.com

Get directions here.

19. White Chocolate + Caviar

foodpairing.com

Get directions here.

20. Scallops + Vanilla

21. Cinnamon + Thyme

plantoeat.com

Try it in a recipe for Cinnamon-Thyme Chicken. There's also a video.

22. Shrimp + Walnuts

23. Basil + Cloves

amateurcookprofessionaleater.blogspot.be

Italian cooks sometimes put a pinch of ground cloves in pesto; the two foods share a sweet compound called eugenol.

Find more info about flavor combinations in Niki Segnit's book The Flavor Thesaurus, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg's book The Flavor Bible, and on khymos.org.