What Goes With Strawberry

25 Amazing Strawberry Pairings For You To Try

· September 14, 2022

According to the boffins in the labs there are over 300 flavor compounds in a strawberry. So instead of there being several dominant flavors, we have hundreds blending together to create what we ultimately sense as being "strawberry".

The good news is, it makes strawberry an exciting fruit to taste and provides lots of interesting pairings. The bad news is, it makes explaining what a strawberry tastes like incredibly difficult. Well here goes.

When I eat a strawberry I can taste caramel and candy cotton in the sweetness. I also detect flavors that exist in other fruits like banana and pineapple. There's also a little pepperiness. Try smelling a whole strawberry and you will notice it. Finally, strawberries have grassy notes which is an arty-farty way to say they smell a little like cut grass. Saying something smells like cut grass though isn't very appetizing so people use grassy instead.

Strawberry Pairings

After spending hours scouring recipe books and conducting tasting experiments, I've found the following flavor pairings all go well with Strawberry. Click on any match to view its flavor matches.

  • Balsamic

    Why this pairing works:Both balsamic and strawberry have sweet, caramel, and floral notes in common. They also share flavor compounds that have a cheesy aroma. These cheesy notes are very subtle in strawberry and probably too difficult to distinguish to an untrained nose but try leaving some in a tied plastic bag for a few hours to trap the cheesy compounds and then take a whiff.

  • Banana

    Why this pairing works:Don't get me wrong, I love banana, but compared to other fruits its flavor can feel a bit simple. Luckily when you pair it with strawberry you will find that not only does strawberry's base notes of caramel and candy cotton blend into the banana, but that strawberry's tartness also provides a much-needed contrast at the end.

    Whilst they do pair well together they share enough in common that their final combined flavor can feel a little predictable. That said, whilst you won't see fireworks, they are a solid combination and are good for an everyday simple recipe. If you want to make things pop look for a third ingredient that can provide even more contrast to the blend.

  • Chocolate

    E.g. Chocolate coated strawberry bombs.So my wife bought these rather ugly lumpish looking chocolates from a fancy company called Rokkatei in Hokkaido. For the price, I thought they could have worked a bit more on the visuals; these balls wouldn't look out of place in a rabbit's hutch.

    Surprisingly the taste was entirely different — these things were awesome! Full of crunch and a flavor experience that hits you like a thunderbolt.

    Taking a look at a half bit one I could see in the center the remains of a beautiful whole red strawberry coated in creamy rich milk chocolate. I guess this explains the lumpy look.

    The freeze-dried process had made the strawberry extremely crunchy and had dialed up its tartness to 11. Likewise, the chocolate felt like it was sweeter and creamier than your average chocolate.

    In isolation, these ingredients would simply be too much; the dried strawberry would be too sour and the chocolate cloyingly sweet. But paired together they balanced one other perfectly and provided a zing-like contrast.

  • Coconut

    Why this pairing works:I really enjoyed this. I simply smeared a little coconut oil on a strawberry, took a bite, and was pleasantly surprised. Adding coconut made me aware of the strawberry's more tropical side. In addition to its candy floss-like sweetness, strawberry also has flavor compounds more commonly found in tropical fruit like pineapple and kiwi, and the coconut helped to bring these out.

  • Lime

    E.g. Strawberry Daiquiri.The original Daiquiri was invented way back in 1898 by an American engineer working in Cuba and consists of rum, lime, and sugar syrup. It stayed local for a few years but eventually made its way to the US. Over time it would become the drink of choice for folks like Ernest Hemmingway and John F. Kennedy. However, it wasn't until the 1980s, during the cocktail boom, that the Strawberry Daiquiri would be born. The same lime, rum, and sugar mix would now be accompanied by a handful of fresh strawberries and plenty of ice, all blended together to make a vibrant, red, boozy concoction perfect for the poolside.

  • Rhubarb

    Why this pairing works:Strawberry and Rhubarb match because they both share a flavor compound called hexenal that has green, apple-like notes.

    E.g. Rødgrød (Danish red berry dessert).Rødgrød is a traditional Danish red berry dessert with a thick texture like tapioca. Red berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are gently stewed in sugar and thickened with potato starch. To balance the berries and sugar, tart yet floral Rhubarb is added to the mix, and once cooked, the dessert is served with fresh double cream.