6 Of the Best Flavors to Pair With Kumquats

If you’re unfamiliar with kumquats, their one-two punch of subtle sweetness and intense tartness can catch you off guard, especially if you plan on adding them to a unique dish. What’s a chef to do? Check out this list of our favorite pairing flavors of course!

Chocolate 

Yeah, yeah, we know that pretty much everything works with chocolate, but kumquats really work well with chocolate. The richness of dark chocolate enhances the dual flavor of kumquats and vice versa, particularly if you use dried or candied kumquats in lieu of fresh ones. Start things off with chocolate covered candied kumquats or add dried kumquats to a chocolate cake.

Pineapple

Because of kumquat’s tart bite, it’s a good idea to pair them with sweet, recognizable fruits. We like to keep things a little tropical by pairing pineapple because of the kumquat’s subtle floral notes and complimentary citric-like tendencies. If you’re not sure where to start, try taking cues from this pineapple salsa or combine both into a unique chutney!

Duck

Looking for a classier way to serve kumquats? Consider incorporating them into your next duck dish! While we’ve seen chefs use this combo in different ways, we’re particularly fond of using kumquats as the base for a syrupy sauce because it allows their signature sweet/tart flavor profile to serve as a counterpoint to the richness of duck. 

  • Pro Tip: For extra aesthetic points, put candied kumquats on the side. 

Arugula

Surprisingly, the world-renowned pepperiness of arugula makes an excellent partner to kumquats. When combined, the two flavors compliment each other without drowning the other out, meaning that you get a lot of flavor from bite to bite. It’s important to note that you can get similar results with other peppery greens like frisée and watercress, so don’t be afraid to work with a combination of the three in your next kumquat salad.

Chili Peppers

If you’ve ever had chili mangoes or spicy pineapples, you already know where we’re going with this one. Despite the fact that kumquats are not nearly as sweet as their tropical compatriots, their tartness still comes across quite well. Whether you’re looking to take inspiration from Mexican chili mangoes and coat kumquats in chili powder or combine the two into a tangy sauce, there are a lot of options out there for the intrepid chef!

Whiskey

Hear us out on this one. Due to their citrus fruit heritage, kumquats can be an awesome addition to your bar if utilized properly. To see this firsthand, we’d recommend making a kumquat infused simple syrup and adding to whiskey beverages that typically call for a citrus component, such as an old fashioned or a whiskey smash. If that’s not enough kumquat goodness for you, garnish the rim with fresh slices.