This month’s round of TGRWT is hosted by Pablo over at Medellitin, and the foods to pair this time are tomato and black tea. As always you can find instructions on how to participate in the announcement post. If you are new to TGRWT (which stands for They Go Really Well Together), check out the round-ups of the previous 18 rounds! And if you are chemically inclined, you may want to read on to learn more about the compounds behind this months pairing.
With a little help from Douglas Baldwin (whom I interviewed about sous vide recently) I’ve been able to pinpoint the compounds which occur naturally in both tomato and black tea, according to The Good Scents Company website:
(E)-2-hexen-1-al, (E)-2-hexen-1-ol, (E)-2-hexen-1-yl acetate, (E)-2-nonen-1-al, (E)-geranyl acetone, (Z)-2-hexen-1-ol, (Z)-3-hexen-1-al, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, (Z)-3-hexen-1-yl acetate, 1-octen-3-ol, 1-penten-3-ol, 2,4-decadien-1-al, 2-hexen-1-ol, 2-methyl furan, 5-methyl furfural, ammonia, butyl alcohol, butyraldehyde, butyric acid, citronellol, dihydroactinidolide, dimethyl sulfoxide, dimethyl trisulfide, ethyl hexanoate, gamma-hexalactone, gamma-valerolactone, geranic acid, hexanal, hydrogen sulfide, isoamyl alcohol, isovaleraldehyde, isovaleric acid, linalool oxide, methyl ethyl ketone, ortho-guaiacol, propionaldehyde, valeraldehyde
Now this might seem impressive, but as I’ve touched upon previously it is highly uncertain that all of these compounds actually contribute to the flavors of tomato and black tea. Many are probably present at concentrations well below the individual odor thresholds. To alleviate this one preferably needs odor activity values. The closest I came for tomatoes was the mention (free pdf) of a “model” tomato paste with the following compounds:
(E)-beta-damascenone, 2-phenylethanol, 3-methylbutanal, 3-methylbutyric acid, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone, 4-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone, 4-vinylguaiacol, 5-ethyl-4-hydroxy-2-methyl-3(2H)-furanone, acetic acid, butyric acid, dimethyl sulphide, eugenol, linalool, methional, methylpropanal, vanillin
And for tea (both black and green) there is a complete PhD thesis available for download (in German). The following compounds in black teas had high FD (flavor dilution) values:
(E)-2-nonenal, (E)-beta-damascenone, (E,E)-2,4-decadienal, (E,E,Z)-2,4,6-nonatrienal, 2-phenylethanol, 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone, 3-methyl-2,4-nonandion, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone, beta-ionone, geraniol, linalool, phenylacetaldehyde, phenylacetic acid, vanillin
Comparing the two latter lists, we get the following shortlist for odorants present in tomato (paste) and black tea which contribute significantly to their aromas:
(E)-beta-damascenone, 2-phenylethanol, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone, linalool, vanillin (shown below). The fact that none of these are included in the data from The Good Scents Database illustrates my point about using OAVs to evaluate flavor pairing.
Werner Grosch “Evaluation of the Key Odorants of Foods by Dilution Experiments, Aroma Models and Omission” Chem. Sens. 2001, 531.
Schuh, Christian “Wichtige Aromastoffe in schwarzem und grünem Tee (Camellia sinensis)”, PhD disseratation, TU München, 2004.