The rise of molecular gastronomy—where science meets cooking—has created an interesting phenomenon known as foodpairing. Unrelated to food-and-wine pairing, foodpairing is based on the notion that certain properties of foods match well with those of other foods. Lemon has a tart, citrus flavor and a molecular makeup that is complementary with herbs, vegetables and sweets.

Herbs and Spices

Cilantro has a slightly spicy note that meshes well with the acidity in lemon. Raw ginger is pungent and has a unique heat that pairs with the tartness of lemon to create rich and flavorful sauces.


Bell pepper comes in many varieties and colors and has a relatively mild flavor that benefits from lemon's tartness. Lemon also adds brightness and a depth of flavor to cauliflower.


Lemon and cheese is a common pairing. Mild cheeses like mozzarella and Gruyere are best. Lemon and Gruyere are particularly wonderful in a silky cheese sauce to add to chicken dishes.


Lemon is a common ingredient in pastries like lemon cakes, lemon poppy-seed muffins and lemon meringue pie. Surprisingly, it also pairs beautifully with dark chocolate. The citrus brightens the flavor of cocoa, which is normally muted.

About the Author

Mark S. Baker

Based in Virginia Beach, Mark S. Baker has been working in editorial for more than 20 years. He has served as a writer and editor for publications such as the "Houston Post," "Boca Raton News" and "Interactive Week," among others. Baker also has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University and has his own catering business.