Trending: Sweet +

It has been said a time or two that opposites attract. And when it comes to flavor, some opposites create a balanced flavor symphony, a veritable tribute to the yin and yang of great taste. Think of the perfection that is the chocolate covered potato chip or a briny bathed sweet and sour pickle. While you wouldn’t eat them together, they do have something in common. Each is created from an ingredient that starts with sweetness and is balanced by either salt, in the chip’s case, or sour, like the pickle. And we think that taking a sweet ingredient and forcing it to play nice with something salty, sour, or spicy is just about the best thing that could happen.

And it seems we aren’t alone. We call it the “Sweet + “ trend and its inspiration is pretty hard to pin down. In New York City, you can have a classic slice of cheesecake with sour cherries or maybe when you were younger (or maybe last week if you’re like us), you’ve dipped your French fries in your milkshake. Check Pinterest and there are hundreds of sweet + combos with everything from Dark Chocolate Bacon Truffles to Lemon Salted Popcorn and an amazing looking Marshmallow treat made with ridged potato chips instead of crispy cereal. On the heat side, a bag of Xtreme Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Chex Mix might do the trick. And don’t miss this mouth puckering, quenching Salty Dog Sparkling Water.

Speaking of beverages, shrubs pretty much define the sweet + sour combination of the drinking variety. Crafty mixologists and their colonial predecessors have been creating drinking vinegars by macerating fruit in sugar and vinegar for a few days and straining them, resulting in a sour kissed mixer for whatever booze they choose to pair with it. Since summer is just around the corner, we’ve got our eyes on a Classic Blackberry Shrub mixed with sparkling water or better yet Shrub & Co.’s Spicy Ginger Shrub for a refreshing Moscow Mule.

Finally, while we all know that each taste bud on our tongue has receptors to transmit each of the five tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami. It is commonly (and incorrectly) thought that there is a section on the tongue for each of the five tastes – you might have seen that in school at some point – but in reality our entire tongue can sense all five tastes. And we like it when salty, sweet, sour, umami and even bitter can all play nice.

For a little Nikken Sweet+ inspiration, our Curry Peanut Butter Cookie will more than satisfy that craving for something sweet, with a little spice.