Why does pairing fruit and ice cream work?

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Why does pairing fruit and ice cream work? Doesn't the sweetness of each one cancel each other out?
Actually, sweets can pair well together. Take a Gewurtztraminer paired with a Creme Brûlée. On it's own, Gewurtz is very sweet - in fact its about all you taste. But paired with another sweet, the "sweets" sort of raise the noise level of the sweet taste - and the floral notes of the gewurtz shine through. It's like drinking flowers.

Now one of the keys to this is the acid content of the gewurtz, which is quite high. This helps the palette to notice the difference.

Pairing fruit and ice cream goes well - when the acid content is high. So think berries, pineapple, kiwi - even oranges and citrus. You can check on the pH (acid level) of common fruits and vegetables to get a reference on the unknown - and remember that a lower number is more acidic than a higher one.

Cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. might not work as nicely. That being said, putting two delicious things together sometimes works for strange reasons... like adding bananas.

Since the goal is to make the fruit stand out, and augment it with the ice cold goodness of the ice cream, I would suggest a vanilla ice cream. Image courtesy Susanne Nilsson