This post is sponsored by ALDI.
The absolute coolest event that I attended at BlogHer Food 2014 was the ALDI Pairings Party. A sensory expert named Gail Vance Civille hosted the party, which included a presentation and – you guessed it – a lot of delicious food combinations! Gail has over 50 years of experience in sensory work; for her job, she has tasted everything from coffee to tequila and smelled everything from cat litter to diaper pails. In her consultations with ALDI, she trained ALDI test kitchen employees.
Gail is pretty famous in her field, traveling the world to share research about sensory perception. You can read her biography on Wikipedia – she has the coolest job ever!
Gail is actually a SUPERTASTER, someone who has more taste buds than the average person. Pretty neat, huh?
About 40 bloggers attended the ALDI Pairings Party, and I know that people had a blast – a few of the women at my table spontaneously said, “This is so much fun!” in the middle of the tastings. Because it really was. How often do you truly savor what you’re eating and consider the detail flavors behind every bite? Not often. But it was so interesting to do! That’s when it hit me – YOU could throw a pairings party, too! Gail offered up her notes, which I used to create Pairing Guides so you can lead your guests on a tasting journey, too.
Here are the foods that we tasted:
I thought we’d just pop the almonds AND the chocolate in our mouth – but no. Gail had us taste both food individually first. In between each tasting, drink some room temperature water. Fun fact: ice cold water interferes with your ability to truly taste food. So next time you eat a meal, skip the ice!
Here are Pairing Guides for the four combinations that we tried. If you throw a pairings party, ask your guest to try each food and ask if they can taste the flavors listed.
As a bonus pairing, try the milk chocolate with the cheddar cheese – OMG. It’s AMAZING. It tastes just like chocolate cheesecake!
A side note: If one of your guests doesn’t want to eat a particular food or drink the alcohol, Gail says that SMELLING it is nearly as effective as actually eating it. That’s because 90% of your taste experience comes through smell. It’s true – try eating a piece of cheese while holding your nose – it tastes like you’re noshing on nothing.
What’s your favorite food combination? I’m torn between milk chocolate + cheddar cheese, Oreo cookies + peanut butter, and cheese + eggs.
This post was sponsored by ALDI. Thanks for supporting my blog and my family.