A sweet element naturally lends quite distinctive tastes to savoury foods. The incomparable aroma of a sweet and sticky glaze caramelizing takes a smokey salty Christmas ham to another level, the sweet floral notes of a pineapple salsa adds freshness to fish and so on.
When it comes to sweet in savoury dishes balance is the key. The savoury product must come first. The sweet element is more of an ally and should exist in perfect harmony with the dish so as not to run into an unfortunate marriage on the plate.
Sweet in savoury combinations are no fandangle new age culinary gimmick. Chocolate for example is a common ingredient in cooking in certain parts of Europe and Mexico. Honey, molasses and maple syrup give depth and fuel smokey flavours in barbeque sauce; fruit has long been paired with meat dishes both to enhance flavour and to tenderise.
This month we have some classic sweet in savoury flavour combinations and some new ideas to try. I did note however that nobody attempted to put to rest the seemingly age old argument concerning the culinary correctness or conviction of pineapple on a pizza. Love it or hate it it’s not going anywhere and sorry Italian friends for corrupting a beautiful thing with our south pacific fruitiness!