by Peter Coucquyt
on November 20, 2015

A Seasonal Pairing: Mandarin Orange and Pumpkin

Mandarin oranges have a distinct flavor profile that make them easy to use in many different recipes. But one pairing you might not have considered is the pumpkin. You can taste for yourself with our Foodpairing-inspired dessert creation: Pumpkin Ice Cream with Mandarin oranges and Chocolate mousse.

With their naturally sweet complexity, mandarin oranges possess many aromatic properties: spicy, citrus, nutty, woody and floral being the ones that register most prominently on the aroma wheel.

mandarin aroma wheel

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Spicy Aromas

Mandarin oranges have a dominant spicy, vanilla component, which is why the two have such a natural affinity for one another. It is this same spicy, vanilla note that also allows them to pair well with coffee, chocolate, red beets, bread, huacatay, gooseberries and black garlic. To a lesser degree, mandarin oranges also contain a spicy, herbal element, enabling them to pair well with basil, cinnamon, gamba, cognac and ginger.

Citrus Aromas

As a member of the citrus family, it's not surprising that mandarin oranges possess a strong citrus note. Within the aromatic spectrum, there are actually two subcategories of the citrus profile that mandarin oranges can be linked to: The first is more of a lemony note, which would explain why black tea and tomato are delicious in the company of mandarin oranges; the second sub-category is a scent that we describe as being like the rind of a lemon. Thus, pairing well with grey mullet, duck, chicken and butternut squash!

Nutty Aromas

The nutty composition of a mandarin orange can be described as being somewhat similar to coconuts. This explains why cognac, a variety of beers and teas work well when paired with this particular citrus.

Woody Aromas

The woody or hay-like aromatic properties of mandarin oranges link them to ingredients like rosemary, thyme, mint and quince!

Floral Aromas

With its combination of both floral-rose and floral-honey notes, mandarin oranges complement the following ingredients: apple, celery, carrots and lychee.

aroma connection between mandarin and pumpkin

The image above illustrates the broad range of aromas that mandarin oranges and pumpkins share, despite their completely different food categorizations. Both share fruity aromas (it's true—fruits are not the only foods that possess fruity aromas!) and, to a large extent, the same proportion of the spicy, vanilla notes we discussed earlier. They also exhibit floral—both rose and honey—notes, together with their roasted (caramel-like) aromas.

By understanding the aroma/flavor profiles of mandarin oranges and pumpkins, you can now easily incorporate this pairing into you own creations! For starters, try this delicious Foodpairing recipe:

Mandarin Oranges with Pumpkin Ice Cream and Chocolate Mousse

mandarin - pumpkin

Interested in trying out more mandarin orange recipes? Check out these two pairings!

Mandarin - Tomato - Fennel - Chicken

mandarin tomato

Mandarin - Linden Blossom - Chocolate - Cinnamon

mandarin - marron

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by Peter Coucquyt
A former Michelin-starred chef, Peter applies his culinary expertise to the science of Foodpairing®, infusing the sensory experiences of aroma, taste and texture into every one of his creations.

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