Since my first saké matching experience, I’ve been on a mission to taste umami. I’m already challenging my palette to master more flavours. Is this gustative suicide ?
Japanese cuisine includes 5 taste principles : bitterness, acidity, salty, sweet and umami. Umami is a rather difficult concept to wrap my taste buds around. It is translated as a delicious taste « uma » (delicious) and « mi » (taste). Yet, as with many Japanese translations, the true essence of the word isn’t properly captured. Moreover, the scientific world isn’t able to come to a consensus on whether this 5th taste exists. But an entire nation claims to experience it, and I feel left out. I don’t see why I can’t either.
The other day I had a new saké tasting with Gael at Shinkame. This time we tasted two bottles of the same saké, one recently opened and another opened 2 months ago. I found it easier to focus on characteristics of the same product.
The saké was matched with a bitter chocolate. I took a sip of saké, a small bite of chocolate and a second sip of saké to mix the tastes.
A mild revelation occurred « en fin bouche. » I found an extremely pleasant acid taste. Round and generous without the gripped teeth aspect. I appreciate acid and citrus savours, but I never experienced an acid that doesn’t rise to the lips. This was silky, rather comforting. Unfamiliar.
A few days later, I was experimenting with a matured soy sauce. I drizzled the soy sauce over a creamy mozzarella di bufala, sprinkled a few noisettes on top, and took a bite. My tastes buds cried out in song (opera, of course). A luxurious creamy sensation swooned over my tongue. The soy sauce added a roasted, caramelized effect to the ensemble, like a dessert. The most passionately delicious taste I had ever experienced.
Was that umami ?
« Please sir, can I have another ? »