These are the UK’s top 10 unexpected food and drink pairings

The nation has a taste for treating themselves in unexpected ways, according to a nationwide survey.

The survey of 2000 adults, conducted by Censuswide, revealed almost of half (43 per cent) admit to trying unexpected flavour combinations.

While over a third (39 per cent) say trying the odd food and drink pairings makes them feel joyful.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Surprising treats include crisps and chocolate (15 per cent), deep fried chocolate bars (14 per cent) and watermelon with feta cheese (six per cent).

While eight per cent of respondents admit they love the flavour fusions of strawberries dipped in or drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Half of adults say they have their unusual delicacies at least once a month – and almost a third say they’d love to try them, but worry about being judged.

The research was commissioned by Baileys, as part of their launch of their new flavour, Baileys Deliciously Light, just in time for the summer season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Psychologist Lowri Dowthwaite-Walsh, who reviewed the study, said:

“Curiosity is integral to our human nature, and a key way in which we learn about the world. As we age our curiosity often takes a back seat as we try to man age the increasing demands of work and families.

“With this in mind, it’s not surprising that people report feeling more joyful when they try new quirky flavours – it’s a great way to mix up the ordinary!

“Trying new flavours is a sensory experience that grounds us in the present moment, being more present has been proven to improve moods and reduce stress. Neuroscientists have found that we get a rush of dopamine whenever we have a new experience of any kind.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Dopamine is a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. It not only enhances feelings of pleasure and reward but also opens up the learning centres of the brain, helping us to be more motivated and focussed.”

Mixing up the ordinary

The results also found 42 per cent of adults say they feel more adventurous to try new and quirky foods and drinks in the summer.

While 24 per cent say sometimes the unexpected pairing just makes perfect sense.

A whopping 70 per cent agree there’s nothing wrong with having the food and drinks they enjoy all year round – even if they’re traditionally enjoyed in a particular season or weather.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In fact, 40 per cent of respondents said if it was socially acceptable, they would bring ‘winter treats’ into summer, while 50 per cent say food and drink options are limited during certain seasons.

Psychologist Lowri Dowthwaite-Walsh also added: “Enjoying food and drink out of season appeals to our inner rebelliousness and enables us to express our unique preferences, which is associated with greater life satisfaction.

“Having unexpected fun and novel experiences can connect us to the more playful side of ourselves.

“Evaluating ourselves as being adventurous is associated with increased happiness and self-esteem – any small escape from life as usual can have a positive effect on our mood.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For 40 per cent, hot cross buns ranked as the top seasonal food that’s wanted all year round.

With barbecues (37 per cent), mince pies (29 per cent), iced-coffee (25 per cent) follow closely behind.

And 27 per cent would love to keep Baileys in their roster of drink choices throughout the year.

Category marketing director, and spokesperson for the brand, Charlotte Gibson, said: “We want to encourage treating all year round, and where Baileys in summer might feel a little unexpected, Bailey Deliciously Light is delectably versatile and the perfect treat to enjoy this bank holiday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s a light and versatile version of the classic Baileys Original Irish Cream you know and love, but with 40 per cent less calories, so let a summer of treating commence!”

Baileys Deliciously Light is available to purchase from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Amazon until stocks last. ABV 16.1% RRP: 16.50.

UK’S top 10 favourite unexpected food and drink combinations

  1. Crisps and chocolate
  2. Fries dipped in milkshakes
  3. Deep fried chocolate bars
  4. Baileys in a milkshake
  5. Strawberries dipped in / drizzled with balsamic vinegar
  6. Watermelon and feta cheese
  7. Mince pies and cheddar cheese
  8. Crisps crumbed in peanut butter and jam sandwiches
  9. Fries dipped in / drizzled in honey
  10. Fruit dipped in / drizzled with Baileys
The Baileys Deliciously Light Fruit ShakeThe Baileys Deliciously Light Fruit Shake
The Baileys Deliciously Light Fruit Shake | Baileys

Embracing the spirit of unexpected pairs, the brand has shared the recipe for a fruity cocktail to kickstart the summer – the Baileys Deliciously Light Shake.

Baileys Deliciously Light Fruit Shake (0.8 Units per serve)

Serves 1


  • 50ml Baileys Deliciously Light
  • Half a banana
  • 15ml honey
  • 190ml milk of your choice
  • 6tbs cherry coulis
  • Ice
  • Garnish with frozen and fresh berries and mint


  • Add half a banana and honey to your shaker, muddle until all blended.
  • Add 50ml Baileys Deliciously Light, your milk, half of your ice and pop to one side.
  • Add your cherry coulis and remaining ice into your glass.
  • Shake hard, get those ingredients moving!
  • Pour into your glass and garnish.
  • Sip and say hello to summer!
Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.