The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit | March 31, 2011

So, I'm no cook. However, it has occurred to me that honing my culinary skills would be immeasurably useful. Sure, I can follow a recipe, but construct a meal sans-instruction and it's a hit and miss affair.

Browsing through Avenue Bookstore in South Melbourne (a somewhat dangerous endeavour, judging by the number of books I ended up purchasing), I stumbled across "The Flavour Thesaurus" by Niki Segnit- A gorgeous hardcover reference that contains descriptions of the qualities and resulting flavours of hundreds of food pairings. My first thought was 'Brilliant!". It's exactly what an aspiring, often-times clueless cook, such as myself, needs!

In order to create a vaguely edible dish, it obviously helps to have knowledge of what flavours successfully complement each other and also to be aware of the more unconventional and unexpected combinations that are possible. (Chocolate and bacon, anyone?) Although I still may be lacking in technique, I truly believe that this compendium brings me a step closer to full culinary enlightenment.

It also just makes a rather interesting read. The author combines the more serious, historical facts with personal anecdotes and witty observations. Included are also handy recipes and cooking tips. Heston Blumenthal describes it as "An original and inspiring resource". Definitely a must for even the most adept cook.

And, what kind of style-obsessive would I be if I didn't remark on the gorgeous book cover design by Peter Dawson of Grade Design. It was, of course, the pretty rainbow of colours on the cover that initially drew me to the book. A beautiful gift idea.

Brains paired with beauty, just the kind of flavour I love!


Note: This post contains a link to 'The Flavour Thesaurus' on Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate which means that I receive a small percentage of any sales made when readers click on this link. This helps to keep this website alive. However, please note that I would only ever review and suggest books that I personally recommend.

{ all photos by Amy Moss }

posted under: Books, Food, Gift Ideas, storytelling


  1. sounds like a great book! i know they always say "don't judge a book by its cover," but, if for anything, i would want this book for its pretty cover!
  2. What a beautiful book!
  3. That is the prettiest book EVER! :D

    Belly B
  4. I have this book, too. I aspire to more no-recipe cooking and use it all the time!
  5. thank you for the wonderful recommendation! i'm putting this on my amazon wishlist for my birthday. i'm always at a loss when it comes to pairing flavors and whatnot and this would be a HUGE help!
  6. I love those Neapolitan colours!

    This is on my mother's day wishlist - I'll leave this page open as a not so subtle hint!

    Blue Skies
    Charlotte xo
  7. As an avid cookbook collector I want this! Now!!!
  8. Cool! I've always wondered how certain flavors will taste together. This would be an awesome gift for the foodies in my life (who are, conveniently getting married in a couple weeks!)
  9. I love this! And I love your blog. Thanks for sharing!
  10. This book sounds great! Somehow, I never actually thought about the different foods that compliment one another in this sort of way. The cover, like you mentioned, is definitely pretty and eye-catching as well.
  11. Thanks for sharing this book, it sounds so interesting! I am always looking for fun and unique flavor combos!
  12. Oh my gosh what a great find!!! I'll definitely have to check it out. I love how they visually show you what foods to pair just like what colors look good on a color wheel. Genius!

    - Sarah
  13. Be still my heart! This is going in my collection.
  14. how beautiful, and so practical too! would be amazing just to skim through for inspiration, but what a wealth of knowledge in there as well.
  15. Great idea, and such a pretty book - I might add this to my wish list!
  16. Jess | Apr 1, 2011
    Chocolate and bacon is a lovely combination. I have a dark chocolate-bacon cupcake recipe that is AMAZING. People are hesitant at first, but they fall in love quickly.

    The book, though, is beautiful. I need it in my kitchen immediately.
  17. Love your blog! I'll definitely be checking out the book. Thanks for sharing!
  18. what a great find. thanks for sharing. i think i am in need of something like this too : )
  19. I love this book... I was drawn to the cover as well.
  20. love this! I was just saying to a friend the other day how I can not for the life of me describe what I'm eating - all I know is that I either LOVE it or hate it!
  21. my dear melbourne residing friends gave me this book for my birthday last year, along with some gewurzhaus spices! it was pretty much the best present ever, I love this book
  22. I just added this to my Amazon wishlist. What a genius idea!
  23. This was an awesome recommendation!! I just bought it and I'm really glad I did.
  24. Total love - thank you for sharing... looking forward to discovering new combos in the kitchen.
  25. Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm going to buy it for a foodie friend's wedding: where two people (like flavours) mix together :) Thanks again.
  26. What a beautifully executed idea! That's definitely going on my wishlist, thanks for sharing.
  27. What a great post, that book is amazing!
  28. I'll have to look into this. You should also check out a book called "culinary artistry." Can't remember who wrote it. The entire book is essentially a giant index of foods and all the flavors that go well with it. It's awesome! Just look up what ever food you're working with for lots of ideas of what else to cook with it or how to season it. I love it!
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  72. The Flavor Thesaurus is a completely new kind of food book-inspired, as author Niki Signit explains, by her over-reliance on recipes.
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