Pineapple on pizza

Whether you’re a lover or a hater, it’s undeniable that a substantial number of people have found joy in pineapple on pizza. The sweet, fresh tang of the pineapple balances the greasy, salty cheese on the pizza shockingly well. People serve grapes on cheese boards, so maybe pineapple on pizza is not as much of a long shot as it might seem.

McDonalds fries and milkshake

One’s salty and savoury, the other is sweet and well… a liquid. You wouldn’t think they’d go well together, but the sweet and salty combination is winning once again. Something about these two foods make for such a satisfying snack! Next time you’re at McDonald’s you’ll have to dip your fries in your milkshake if you haven’t already – just wait and see.

Sprite and milk

This one seems pretty hard to believe. A fizzy sweet drink that’s advertised as being lemonade of some kind with cow’s milk? We all know citrus and dairy is a no-go, but then again Sprite isn’t very citrus-y. It’s actually a popular combination over in Japan, and despite many people’s reservations, it works in a similar way to a cream soda. Strange, maybe, but pretty tasty.

Chocolate and chicken

Chicken is such a savoury, main course type of food. Most people would never think to pair it with chocolate in any way, but this is traditional for Mexicans. Rich, bitter chocolate in its rawest form is used to make mole poblano. Without the sugar we add to most chocolate, it works really well over chicken dishes.

Red wine and cola

Taking red wine and adding coca cola to it sounds like sacrilege. However, it works shockingly well. The sweetness of the coke balances with the dry wine to create a delicious drink. This is often enjoyed in Spain and is referred to as Calimocho. Apparently it tastes a bit like sangria, but it’s significantly cheaper and quicker to make. Who could turn that down?

Peanut butter and mayonnaise

We’ve all heard of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but apparently peanut butter is equally tasty when paired with mayonnaise. You might not associate peanut butter as belonging with a spread like mayo, but the saltiness of the mayonnaise actually makes the peanut flavour pop. It’s definitely worth a go.

Bacon and maple syrup

This might not be a rare combination, but anyone who hasn’t heard of it will probably be shocked upon first finding out about it. Bacon is salty and savoury and usually consumed with eggs and toast. The idea of covering bacon in sweet syrup sounds wrong until you try it. The sweet and salty flavours complement one another perfectly. Once you taste this combo, there’s no going back.

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has a potent flavour to say the least, and it might not seem like it would go so well with the simple strawberry. However, balsamic vinegar’s strong taste is slightly sweet in its notes, and it allows the strawberries to shine for exactly what they are. You might even notice that the strawberries taste much sweeter and fruitier this way than when they’re paired with other traditionally sweet things like chocolate or pancakes.

Duck and coffee

How would you even combine coffee and duck? Well, you might not know that adding coffee to a marinade will help in making red meats that much more tender. The acidity and bitterness of the coffee will help break down the flavours in the duck and make it taste incredibly rich.

Cheesy pasta and Marmite

This might sound like something students would make while trying to spice up their sparse kitchen cupboard meals. However, the yeast extract of the marmite is an affordable way of bringing some delicious umami flavours into a simple cheesy pasta dish. It can trick you into thinking the cheese tastes fancier, but it melts with the cheese to create a surprisingly tasty savoury sauce.

Vanilla ice cream and soy sauce

This might sound like a culinary crime, but, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, vanilla ice cream and soy sauce work together really well. In fact, when Jared Leto was packing on the pounds for his role in Chapter 27, this was his go-to snack. The explanation behind why this works probably lies in some weird food science about the perfect combination of salty and sweet, but you don’t need to worry about that.

Chocolate and cheese on pizza

Chocolate pizza is hardly a new phenomenon, but restaurants normally wait until the dessert course before they start adding the cacao. Not anymore. Cheese and chocolate on the same, doughy disc is one of the latest food fads, and people seem to absolutely love it. To be fair, cheese is known to pair well with sweet treats such as grapes and apples, so perhaps this isn’t as outlandish as it seems.

Oreos and orange juice

Move over, milk – Oreos have a new playmate. Whilst the idea of dipping your Oreos in anything other than a glass of perfectly chilled milk might seem sacrilegious to some, there’s a growing trend of people dunking their biscuits in OJ instead. Again, this isn’t really as weird as it sounds. After all, one of the main food trends of the last couple of years has been orange versions of literally every chocolate bar in existence.

Peanut butter burgers

Peanut butter is one of the most versatile foods on the planet, playing equally well with savoury and sweet ingredients. That said, peanut butter on a burger does sound like a pretty good way to ruin something great. Peanut butter burgers have exploded in popularity in recent years, and can be found on the menus of burger joints the world over.

Cream cheese and strawberries

Cream cheese is something of a shapeshifter. One minute, it’s providing the perfect accoutrement to smoked salmon on a bagel, the next it’s adding a touch of decadence to a carrot cake. But you could be forgiven for having never thought – or dared – to try this combination. However, cream cheese really does pair excellently with strawberries, offering an alternative to the more traditional clotted cream.

Banana and toast

This might sound like the brainchild of someone who has yet to get to grips with the culinary arts, but banana on toast is absolutely delicious. It also offers those with a predilection for the sweeter things in life a way to make their breakfast exciting without having to reach for much more unhealthy options, like Nutella. That said, banana and Nutella on toast is a genuine slice of heaven.

Bacon and chocolate

Bacon and maple syrup might seem out there at first, but when you think about it it’s really not that strange. After all, maple cured bacon has been around for a long time, so clearly the flavours pair well. For a genuine trip into experimental territory, try adding chocolate to your bacon instead. The combination of salty and sweet hits every spot at once, and is likely to leave you craving more. To make things extra exotic, go for chocolate on the darker end of the spectrum.

Cottage cheese and spaghetti

Cottage cheese has been wholeheartedly embraced by the bodybuilding community, which has probably distracted from the fact that it’s a great cheese in its own right. When added to hot dishes it becomes wonderfully creamy, and its flavours are gentle enough that it doesn’t overpower whatever it’s paired with. For an easy way to enjoy this versatile cheese, try mixing it in with some spaghetti and adding a little salt and pepper.

Cheese toasty with apple slices

The suggestion of adding slices of apple to your cheese toasty might arouse some suspicion. Toasties are universally loved for their ability to provide a comforting hit of decadence with minimal effort, so you might be wondering why you’d want to ruin that by adding a load of work to the prep and making them healthier. The answer? Because it tastes amazing. Cheese and apples compliment each other perfectly, and grilling them together on some bread does absolutely nothing to change that.

Macaroni cheese and ketchup

People who put ketchup on everything are often viewed with disdain, but in this case the discrimination is unwarranted. Ketchup adds a slight tang to macaroni cheese that adds a whole new dimension to the dish and perfectly accentuates the flavour of the cheese. To make it even more of a comfort food, try adding some chopped up hot dogs.

Butter and sugar on bread

This might seem like something that a child would come up with, but bear in mind that it’s not that far from French Toast. The creaminess of the butter perfectly pairs with the sweetness of the sugar, making this an incredibly easy snack that quickly provides a satisfying hit. If you’re feeling extra indulgent you can toast the bread first so that the butter melts, but there’s really no need.

Peanut butter and sriracha

Peanut butter and jam is one thing, but peanut butter and sriracha is surely a bridge too far. Then again, maybe not. This pairing has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years, and it might not be as insane as it sounds. After all, many Asian peanut-based sauces – particularly those from Malaysia and Thailand – pack quite the spicy punch.

Blackberry and rosemary

Rosemary is an unusual flavour, but it might just be the perfect match for blackberry. The herb delightfully compliments the berry’s sweetness with subtle savoury and bitter notes that make for an intense taste sensation. Next time you make blackberry crumble or jam, try adding in a pinch of rosemary. You won’t be disappointed.

Avocado and chocolate

In recent years, avocado has been steadily infiltrating the world of sweet treats, with people exploiting its creamy texture to make their smoothies and milkshakes even more indulgent. Avocado also works wonderfully in a wide variety of chocolate based desserts, including mouses and brownies. To really capitalise on the enhanced texture without adding too much avocado taste, opt for less ripe fruits.

Steak and pomegranate

Adding unusual ingredients to steak can send those who value culinary tradition into a blind rage, but this isn’t the same as smothering a ribeye in ketchup. Marinading steak in pomegranate juice prior to cooking adds a tangy sweetness that exquisitely contrasts the meat’s natural umami. Try decorating the cooked steak with a garnish of pomegranate seeds too. It looks fantastic and adds a burst of juiciness to every mouthful.

Watermelon and salt

This might seem like a repellent idea, but stop for a moment and consider the fact that sweet treats are often elevated by a dash of salt. Salted caramel, sea salt chocolate… the list goes on, and it definitely includes watermelon. Try sprinkling a tiny bit of sea salt next time you’re getting stuck in to a wedge of the juicy red fruit, you won’t look back.

Black bean and chocolate brownies

Turns out black beans can do a lot more than fill out Mexican food. When added to a chocolate brownie mix, the flavour of the beans becomes almost unnoticeable, but the texture noticeably improves. As an added bonus, they significantly improve the nutritional profile, allowing you to indulge with less guilt.

Egg and jam sandwich

This sounds like a kitchen mixup of epic proportions, but egg and jam in the same sandwich is a delight most people are missing out on. The natural savouriness of the eggs is enhanced by the saccharine sweetness of the jam, unlocking a flavour experience that hits all the right spots. You can mix things up by adding a few slices of ham or cheese.

Olive oil and ice cream

The Italians have known for centuries that olive oil makes literally everything taste better, and it turns out that ice cream is no exception. Despite sounding like a texture and taste nightmare, the oil blends in effortlessly with the ice cream and really accentuates the sweetness. Some ice cream shops have even started offering olive oil gelato, which is unusual and delightful in equal measure.

Dill pickles and orange juice

If you got upset at the thought of Oreos dipped in orange juice, this one is likely to push you over the edge. In recent years there has been a growing trend – documented on social media, of course – of people enjoying dill pickles dipped in orange juice. Apparently the brininess of the pickles combined with the tartness of the OJ provides the perfect kick, and people seem to be hooked.

Burger and cookie

Burgers are one of the world’s favourite foods, largely due to the fact that they can be easily and endlessly modified. However, some people take advantage of this quality to try out some questionable combinations. One of the latest burger trends involves stacking the patty with a chocolate cookie, with the sweetness apparently adding a new dimension to the experience.

Tinned tuna and apple

This snack, often creatively referred to as ‘Apple Tuna Bites,’ has found a loyal following in the fitness community. Tuna is a protein powerhouse packed full of heart healthy omega 3s, and the apple provides a hit of sweetness that reduces cravings for more unhealthy treats. Don’t go overboard though, tuna has been shown to contain high levels of mercury.

Grilled pineapple and Tabasco sauce

Pineapple’s bold, sweet flavour pairs perfectly with the sharply acidic spice of Tabasco. For best results, grill the pineapple before applying a liberal splash of the sauce. For those with a more adventurous palate, the Tabasco can be swapped out for spicier condiments such as Mad Dog 357, which, at 9 million Scoville units, is currently the world’s hottest sauce.

Nutella and biryani

The origins of this food trend are unknown, but it has swept through social media, gaining a dedicated fan base in the process. If you’re bold enough to give it a go, it’s pretty easy to make: get some biryani, get some Nutella, mix, and enjoy… maybe. The trend has even made its way back to India, where it can be found served at food stalls looking to cash in on the hype.

Ferrero Rocher and Manchurian sauce

Some people just can’t get enough of sugar and spice, although whether this one falls into the category of ‘all things nice’ is up for debate. Manchurian sauce is a spicy dressing made with soy sauce and chilli, and some people swear that it belongs on Ferrero Rocher. Apparently the sweetness, spice and crunch form an unusual but highly addicted trio.

Instant noodles and beer

Before you roll your eyes… actually, no, go ahead. This has no redeeming features. For some reason, people on social media are adding cold beer to their instant noodles, instead of the more traditional (and sane) boiling water. It’s a complete mystery how this dubious food trend started, but maybe someone was trying to make Thai Drunken Noodles and got seriously confused.

Salami and grapes

Everyone knows that melon and prosciutto is a divine combination, but you can put an interesting twist on the classic Italian appetiser by substituting the ingredients for salami and grape. The flavours come together in a mouth-watering marriage of salty and sweet, and the burst of juiciness from the grapes adds a wonderful textural component. It’s also an incredibly easy way to dazzle your guests with minimal effort.

Salt and pepper on apples

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A touch of salt can really bring out the sweetness in fruit, but sprinkling pepper on your apples in public is likely to raise a few eyebrows. However, some people swear by the combination. Apparently, the pepper adds a slightly fiery kick that lends depth to the sweetness of the apple, and the salt adds balance to the flavour.

Honey and pizza

It stands to reason that if chocolate and cheese can coexist peacefully on a pizza, honey should be able to as well. The trend has become increasingly common in recent years, moving out of the kitchens of experimental foodies and onto the menus of reputable pizzerias. The key is to go easy on the honey, as the sweetness can end up overpowering all the other flavours if overdone.

Peanut butter and onion sandwich

There is a theory that peanut butter goes with literally everything, and people seem really keen on testing it. Whilst chopped onion isn’t an uncommon sandwich filler, it’s usually found in the more traditional cheese and onion sandwich. According to fans of its experimental cousin, the sharp flavours of the onion cut through the creamy saltiness of the peanut butter, resulting in a complex and satisfying experience.

Jam and scrambled eggs

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Jam and eggs are both traditional breakfast foods, but they’re generally served separately. Apparently, that might be wrong. Adventurous foodies have been mixing jam directly into their scrambled eggs, with apparently good results. Fans of this combo claim that the creaminess of the scrambled eggs is blissfully enhanced by the sweetness of the jam, turning the dish into something halfway between breakfast and dessert.

White rice and ketchup

The thought of a bowl of plain white rice is unlikely to get anyone’s mouth watering, but apparently the addition of ketchup turns it into one of the best comfort foods going. The slightly sharp sweetness of the ketchup shines against the plain backdrop of the rice, and the dish can be easily jazzed up by stirring in an egg. It should probably go without saying that if you don’t like ketchup, this is going to be a non-starter for you.

Fish fingers and custard

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This is likely to make many people recoil, but there’s plenty of people on social media who swear by the combination. By now it’s been firmly established that savoury and sweet can play well together, but the addition of fish is likely to be divisive. Interestingly, most of the debate about this combo seems to revolve around whether the custard should be served hot or cold, instead of the more natural question of “does eating this mean you’ve lost your mind?”

Watermelon and feta

Many people swear by adding a sprinkle of salt to watermelon, so it’s not all that surprising that the fruit pairs well with feta, undoubtedly one of the saltiest cheeses. Feta and watermelon can be eaten on their own, or used as the base of a salad. Either way, if you’re a fan of both ingredients separately, you’re almost guaranteed to love them together.

Banana and mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a divisive food at the best of times, so this combination is likely to ruffle some feathers. That said, some people are absolutely hooked on the combination, especially in a sandwich. Banana is known to compliment creamy things, and mayonnaise could arguably be described as creamy, so perhaps there’s a shred of sanity in this one. The key is probably not to think too hard about exactly what it is that you’re eating.

Twinkie with a hotdog and spray-on cheese

Weird Al Yankovic’s signature sandwich, the Twinkie Wiener Sandwich is made by splitting open a Twinkie, filling it with a hotdog, and covering the resultant concoction with copious amounts of spray-on cheese. The world was introduced to the Twinkie Wiener Sandwich in UHF, Yankovic’s debut film, and the dish has gained a loyal following. These days the musician, who has since gone vegetarian, opts for a tofu hotdog instead.

French Toast and meat sauce

French Toast is one of the most comforting foods in existence. So is meat sauce. You can see where this is going. The great thing about this combination is that it can be justifiably served at any time of the day, meaning you no longer have to constrain yourself to having French Toast in the morning, or meat sauce for dinner. Both the Italians and the French would probably find this deeply insulting, so it might be best enjoyed in private.

Popcorn and milk

Another combination that is likely to make you do a double take, until you actually stop and think about it. Popcorn and cereal have a lot of similarities, and cereal and milk go together like bacon and literally everything. To really up the decadence factor, go for toffee coated popcorn like Butterkist. It won’t make for the healthiest start to the day, but it’ll definitely put a smile on your face.

Hot Cheetos and yogurt

Another snack that hinges on the pleasing dichotomy between savoury and sweet, people have been adding Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to fruit yogurts and raving about the results on social media. As well as the complementary flavours, the crunch from the Cheetos supposedly also marries pleasantly with the creaminess of the yogurt. You can either use the yogurt as a dip, or just go ahead and mix it all together in a bowl.

Bacon, peanut butter and banana sandwich

This sandwich is so good that Elvis reportedly gorged himself to death on it. The punchy saltiness of the bacon contrasts sharply with the creamy sweetness of the banana, and the peanut butter adds texture and a smooth savouriness that lingers long after the sandwich is finished. This definitely isn’t something you want to be enjoying regularly, but it’s hard to beat as an occasional indulgent treat.