Foodies have long enjoyed pairing meals with wine. Now, one chef is extending the challenge to coffee – encouraging customers to choose the right java to accompany savory snacks and desserts.
Victoria Dunham is the executive chef for Mudhouse Coffee – a chain of three shops in and around Charlottesville. The competition is keen, but she hopes to give her company an edge by baking foods that pair especially well with coffee.
"In restaurants, coffee is often an afterthought to the food, and in coffee houses the food is often an afterthought to the coffee," she says. "Our goal is to be much more intentional. "
Take, for example, a hummingbird cupcake – made with banana, pineapple and toasted pecans.
" It’s a delicious cupcake on its own, but when you pair it with Muburi coffee, it creates an entirely new sensation, because Muburi has tasting notes of pineapple and blueberry – things that traditionally go with banana," Dunham explains.
Then there’s the frittata – a kind of omelette made with carmelized onions and Mexican sausage.
"The chorizo is very bold, and that really pairs well with our Intention Blend – a coffee that has some guts to it and can sort of stand up to the chorizo," the Mudhouse chef says. "They dance well together."
Someday she hopes to host an entire dinner with food and coffee pairings – kind of like wine but Dunham claims coffee has many more elements to it than wine does, and to make things even more interesting, she adds, the flavors in coffee change as it cools.