While some skeptics reduce flavor pairings to trend and tradition, it can be difficult to strike a balance on those terms alone.
On Nov. 18, the team published their findings and finally solved the mystery of why the rich enjoy the rich flavor pairing. Turns out, it all comes down to umami.
According to Mouitsen, umami-taste can be filed along with flavor profiles like sweet and salty and “is one of the five basic flavors detectable to human taste buds.” In the past, human cravings for umami led us to calorie and protein-rich foods. Today, it explains why we love classic pairings like eggs and bacon, or ham and cheese.
In oysters, the umami flavor comes from basic nucleotides, which are a component of umami. In Champagne, the umami flavor comes from “glutamates within the dead yeast [that] fermented the bubbly” — lees aging, anyone?
From here, scientists found you can hone in on exact ratios of nucleotides to glutamates by pairing different variations of basic Champagne and oysters. All in all, they discovered that the best umami synergy comes from European oysters and aged Champagnes with extended yeast contact.
Cue scores of Parisian scientists exclaiming, “Hon hon hon!”