What the hell is TGRWT18, one might ask. TGRWT stands for "They go really well together" and represents a project started by the Norwegian blogger Martin Lersch of Khymos to explore unusual flavor pairings that have a basis in science. Previous pairings have included strawberry and coriander, mint and mustard and chicken and rose amongst others. This latest round of exploration and the first I am participating in, was put forth by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef. Trig describes the rationale behind the product as:
"TGRWT is all about unusual flavour pairings - combining culinary ingredients in ways that we aren't familiar with from classical cooking. The scientific hypothesis behind these experiments is that if two foods have one or more key odorants in common, they might go well together and perhaps even complement and enhance each other. With the advent of modern analysis tools and the establishment of the Volatile Compounds in Food Database, this research has become much easier to undertake. But, as they say, the proof of the pudding..."
For this round he has chosen Plum and blue cheese, with wide discretion on the specific plums and blue cheeses to be used. Fruit and cheese have been served together for ages, so this isn't a huge stretch, however, blue cheese is not necessarily the easiest pairing. For example, my wife had a sip of orange juice after eating some blue cheese and nearly gagged.
I decided that I would approach this very simply to start. I toasted some Rockhill 8 Seed whole grain bread, sliced some Stilton like Boucher Blue from Vermont and sliced a basic Califonia plum and layered the cheese and the plum on top of the toast. It made for a lovely breakfast with the fruit, cheese and bread harmonizing nicely. The Boucher Blue is a firm, full flavored, assertive blue, but it mellowed considerably when paired with the plum. The toast and seeds added nice background flavors and textures. I can easily envision a gorgonzola-plum tart or perhaps something even more savory - a blue cheese-plum sauce over grilled sliced medium rare beef.
BTW, if you are not familiar with either Khymos or Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef, they are absolutely worth checking out.