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From expert knowledge and sensory science to a general model of food and beverage pairing with wine and beer

Eschevins, A., Giboreau, A., Julien, P., Dacremont, C.
International journal of gastronomy and food science 2019 v.17 pp. 100144
beers, expert opinion, experts, gastronomy, interviews, models, wines
Pairing food and beverages is a traditional practice in French gastronomy. Culinary literature provides recommendations in terms of food and beverage pairing but identifying general strategies to create a match is still difficult.This work aims at identifying what makes a match between food and beverage according to experts and at investigating whether explanations are domain-specific or generalizable. Explanation interviews (or self-confrontation interviews) were conducted with sommeliers (n = 10) and beer experts (n = 10). They were asked to suggest food-beverage pairings and to explain why the pairs would or not would match.From these interviews, fifteen pairing principles were identified. They correspond to strategies and prerequisites to consider to create a match. They are related to perceptual, conceptual and affective categories and aim at creating pairing according to various objectives: creating a unique match experience, highlighting one of the two products, and enjoying the experience of each product in the pair. These principles are related to both perceptual and physiochemical underlying mechanisms. Generally the same pairing principles may be considered to match food with either wine or beer. However matches based on norms and conceptual association were more often mentioned for wine than beer. Some differences were also highlighted between experts of different domain: beer experts used more experiential discourse than sommeliers who more often referred to conceptual principles.