Why do we buy wine with cheese?

Often when you buy wine, you buy cheese at the same time - even in the same packaging, in Christmas gift sets.

But why exactly do we buy wine and cheese together? And what other pairings work in the same way?

Carmen Drahl, associate editor of Chemical & Engineering News, has been looking into the subject, and notes the obvious pairings - wine and cheese, burger and fries, sour cream and salsa - that are popular the world over.

However, modern research has found other 'flavour-pairings' that share similar molecules that contribute towards their taste and smell.

As such, caviar and white chocolate apparently work well together, while chocolate-and-ketchup-flavoured ice cream has also been developed by Sense for Taste, a specialist company working in the area of flavour-pairing.

The research may sound silly, but it's based on proper science - using the same techniques that are currently searching for evidence of life on Mars.

So if your local wine shop offers a choice of cheeses to enjoy with its fine wine, you might want to give them a try - and gain a newfound respect for this classic pairing of flavours.