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HUNT VALLEY, Md. -- McCormick & Co. has been matchmaking to help home chefs make new and tasteful meals. The spice company here has joined with top chefs, cookbook authors and TV food personalities to create the 2008 Flavor Forecast, which consists of the latest flavor combinations that home chefs can add to their meals.
Chefs have long used complementary and contrasting flavors in preparing dishes, and now it's easy for home cooks to experiment with these tastes, too, notes the company.
This year's top flavor blends are as follows:
--Oregano and heirloom beans: This combination not only harmonizes in terms in flavor, but packs a mighty antioxidant punch.
--Vanilla bean and cardamom: The match-up of rich vanilla and perfume-like cardamom exudes luxury and indulgence, making just a little taste go a long way.
--Chile and cocoa: This warm coupling points to rising interest in authentic regional Mexican cuisine.
--Coriander and coconut water: The minty, citrus flavor of coriander balances the brightly, slightly sweet taste of coconut water to enhance any course, from appetizer to dessert.
--Lemongrass and lychee: The popularity of Asian cuisine makes this aromatic pairing a natural.
--Red curry and masa (corn flour): This cross-cultural partnership of Asian and Latin elements creates a fresh taste experience
--Orange peel and natural wood: The smokiness of wood and the tanginess of orange peel create a unique taste sensation.
--Allspice and exotic meats: The warm, sweet flavor of allspice is an ideal complement to the robust taste of such unexpected meats as bison, antelope, venison, pheasant, rabbit, ostrich, and elk.
--Poppy seed and rose: This marriage of North Africa and the Middle East successfully blends the nutty flavor and crunchy texture of poppy seeds with the sweet floral taste and aroma of rose.
--Rubbed sage and rye whiskey: Sage's highly aromatic and piney-woody flavor matches well with rye whiskey's dryness.
McCormick said it is providing recipes highlighting these taste combinations.