words by Skyla Patton | photo by Sierra Pedro
Picture this: it’s date night, and you’re taking your significant other out for a night on the town. You pick the best five-star restaurant in town, settle down in your window seat and the waiter hands you a pairing menu. One side depicts the most delicious food you’ve ever heard of, and the other is photos of huge, mouth watering… buds?
Well, it may be awhile before fine restaurants let your light up at the dinner table, but there’s no reason why you can’t get ready for that day by practicing at home. Check out these suggestions for successfully pairing your green with your grub.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the components of the strain’s terpenes and aromas to fully understand what flavors will best match up. Terpenes are the naturally formed compounds in the bud that gives it it’s unique smell and flavor when smoked. These compounds are also found in most foods, which explains why identifying the smell and flavor would make a more successful pairing! Pay close attention to these details in selecting which strains you want to puff on while making your grocery list for the evening.
The art of pairing different marijuana strains with different flavor palettes works similarly to the pairing of wine and food. The strongest aromas and flavors of each wine are connected to the complementing aromas and flavors of food to make a delicious combination that best suits each other. Each flavor and aroma is meant to enhance that of the other, and there are two ways to do this: congruent pairing and complementary pairing. Congruent pairing is accomplished by combining two items with similar traits, like smoked cheese and a dark wine, whereas complementary pairing is combining two items that add to the other, like coconut and lime.
Use Your Nose
Buds often give off some pretty intense aromas. Even someone who is less familiar with the world of weed can usually catch hints of different flavors after taking a good whiff of a new strain. If you’re not sure what exactly you’re looking for, head over to a dispensary and ask a budtender on staff. They’re usually more than willing to lend an expert hand and they can help you differentiate between a sweeter bud and something a little more spicy. Let these initial impressions guide you, and try not to think too hard about it. It’s not as complicated as it can feel at first! If a strain has strong hints of blueberry, scoop up some vanilla frosting and blueberry cupcakes to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or, if you’re more interested in the complementary side of pairing, combine that blueberry aroma with a slice of angel food cake and fresh fruit sprinkled on top. A few strains that will inspire and get your inner chef pumped are Blue Cheese, White Russian, Chocolate Chunk and Berry Kush.
Pay Attention to Titles
While some strain names are less than helpful to the uneducated eye, like Alaskan Thunderfuck or Golden Goat, most titles will give you a very good indication of what to expect when smoking them. Strains pick up their titles from the flavor they put off, the aroma both as a bud and as smoke and occasionally from physical appearance. This is especially true when the name has an obvious connection to a flavor or specific food product. It can be a huge help in matching it with the perfect snack! An easy example is Tangie, a strain produced from sativa that is rich with the scent of citrus and tropical fruits. Now, focus on the citrus and think about what you would put lemon or lime on; sprinkled over roasted chicken, mixed into a fresh quinoa salad or served with an ice-cold pina colada. All of these things and more, would make for a delicious aftertaste to a few puffs of this strain. A few popular strains that are easy to identify are Peaches and Cream, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Kush and Pineapple Express.
Have Fun With It
There’s really no way to go horribly wrong when it comes to smoking your favorite bud and cooking delicious food. It’s important to do your research and put effort in when trying new pairing matches, but above all, your enjoyment of both the green and the grub is what’s key to having fun with this experiment. Play with flavors you already know you like, or go for a standard classic of Girl Scout Cookies and a tall glass of milk. Personal preference should always take priority over following the rules. Pairing a strain that you know you don’t enjoy to try and make snickerdoodles taste better won’t be any fun for you or the snickerdoodle! The possibilities are endless, so make sure to have fun with it.
Our Top 5 Pairing Examples
- Chocolate Chunk and Brownie Sundaes: A chocolatey combo will satisfy the sweet tooth craving in everyone with an indica strain rich in cocoa flavors and a classic dessert with a melting scoop of ice cream on top.
- Blue Cheese and Buffalo Wings: This easy indica-heavy pairing is great for a date night dinner at home and makes for a delicious meal of spicy, juicy wings and a creamy cheese flavor to complement it.
- Lemon Kush and Apple Pie: This hybrid dish is perfect for dinner parties, combining the sweet smell of citrus with a fresh apple pie smothered in whip cream to create a killer dessert everyone will love.
- Pineapple Express and Roasted Ham: The granddaddy of complementary pairings, the sweet taste of pineapple sativa will wow the crowd when combined with savory smoked ham fresh out of the oven.
- Orange Haze and Mandarin Chicken Salad: A great dinner for one or even appetizer, mandarin chicken salad can only get better with the addition of sweet orange sativa.