I get asked a lot from my cooking students how to flavor profile. I tell them what I will tell you, Dear Readers, flavor profiling is backwards work. Say what? "What do you mean Mary? That sounds complicated.' Well, Dear Readers, it is not. Here is what to do.
Say you want to create a gift or menu around a wine or a beer or an ingredient; for example, dessert wine. Know the flavor profile. 'How do I do that Mary?' Well, read the label, do a bit of research and think out of the box. There is this wonderfully accessible tool called the internet. On this magical landscape known as the world wide web one may find all manner of useful bits of information. USE that information. Look up the ingredient, in this case a dessert wine, and see what pairs best with it. What pairs best may be chocolate or cheese or nuts or whatever. IF your friend cannot eat, say, chocolate, it's time to get creative and explore other options. Maybe you decide to make a cheese cracker, as I might. In fact, maybe you decide to look up cheese cracker recipes, use those as spring boards for your own recipe and just begin playing. Maybe you begin to mimic a specific cheese (you do not have in the house) by playing with combinations of cheese and special salts. Maybe you decide, hey! I could really go for it and make triple the recipe so I have gifts for giving and snacks for sharing! Maybe you think to yourself, 'Gosh Self. I hope this recipe works... NAH! You think. Your kitchen is your playground! All will be well.' Win-win! See how fun working backwards can be? Don't you feel accomplished? You should!
I hope you give this idea of working backwards to flavor profile a try. I plan entire events around just one idea I get from working backwards and just letting the playing (cooking) happen. Share your thoughts in the comments section.