Umami Sauce Starter

Umami Sauce Starter


Our Umami Sauce Starter captures the essence of “the fifth taste”. A savory blend of mushrooms, truffle, tomato and miso are combined into a rich and balanced sauce starter.

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The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Democritus was the first to define four distinct tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. This understanding of the four tastes remained basically unchanged for 2,000 years. Then, In 1908, a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda identified glutamic acid as the source of a distinctly different flavor in dashi, a clear Japanese broth flavored with seaweed. After months of experimentation, Ikeda isolated glutamate, an amino acid, in the form intensely flavored crystals. Ikeda gave his discovery the name ‘umami,’ a combination of the Japanese words ‘umai,’ meaning pleasant or delicious and the word ‘mi,’ meaning ‘essence,’ or ‘taste.’

Despite Ikeda’s discovery, it took nearly a century for the scientific community and world at large to acknowledge umami as the fifth taste. In 2000, taste receptors specific to glutamate were discovered. Since then, several other receptors specific to amino acids relating to umami have been identified. Scientists around the world now agree that just as humans evolved to react positively to sweet flavors, we have also evolved to love savory flavors. Grilled and roasted meats, particularly pork, are just one example of umami flavor.

Interestingly, drying and fermenting seem to concentrate umami flavors in many foods. Dried mushrooms, miso, parmesan cheese, truffles, and ketchup are all examples of foods with easily-identifiable umami flavor. Our Umami Sauce Starter is an endlessly versatile blend of these ingredients.