Make Magic With Melons: Food Pairing Ideas

by Simona Terron

This summer, cool off with chunks of sweet chilled melons, drink melon-inspired coolers and feast on appetizers and desserts made of this water-rich summer fruit. Low in calories, rich in vitamins A and B, and potassium, and high in fiber, these fruits are immensely refreshing and healthy.

Since they’re now available in abundance this season, we give you smart and easy suggestions on what to pair them with, from spices, herbs, other fruit and vegetables, to cheese and ham, as well as wines that bring out their inherently bracing sweetness.

When it comes to creating interesting flavor profiles with melons, the best tasting blends usually involve the following three combinations:

  • Sweet and sour.
  • Sweet and salty.
  • Spicy, with a hint of creaminess to offset the sweet.

Herbs & Spices That Brighten Up Melons:

  1. Cilantro, with its grassy, pleasant flavor, offsets the sweetness of melon.
  2. Mint complements their freshness with its sweet, cooling flavor and energizing aroma.
  3. Parsley may not be as sweet as far as leafy herbs go yet it matches well with them.
  4. Thyme’s woodsy yet floral flavor and subtle aroma should be employed in small amounts or it will overpower the melon flavors.
  5. Kaffir lime or lemongrass lift up the already fresh melons with their fragrant, oily notes
  6. Spicy ingredients make the sweetness of melons pop excitingly so choose from harissa, ginger, jalapenos, red chili flakes, black pepper or hot sauces like Tabasco.

Fruits & Veggies That Go With Melons:

  1. Tart and sweet strawberries and apples
  2. Citrus fruit like limes or lemons
  3. Berries like blueberries or raspberries
  4. Dried, rich dates
  5. Tropical fruit like mango, kiwi and pineapples
  6. Crunchy and similarly water-rich cucumbers
  7. Ripe and firm tomatoes

Delicious Food & Wine Pairings To Go Gourmet:

  1. Wrap bacon or Parma ham around melon chunks for a heavenly finger food that’s healthy and delightful to taste thanks to the smoky, sweet and salty blend.
  2. Drizzle a bit of savory, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar to melons for depth of flavor. You could do this for a nutritious, summery salad or grilled skewers. Soy sauce is also a good bet but choose tamari, which is healthier and gluten-free.
  3. Flavored salts do well when sprinkled on melon chunks or added to melon smoothies since they bring out the sweetness.
  4. Cheese of the soft-ripened variety such as Brie or Camembert should be served at room temperature or warmed in an oven before being served with melons. Their earthy creaminess contrasts cleverly with the texture and sweetness of melons.
  5. For a wine that brings out the best in melons, try Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer or a Riesling. All of them should be chilled perfectly.

Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
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